BHOPAL: As the Indian cricket team launched its campaign at the ICC World Cup against South Africa in England on Wednesday, thousands of kilometres away, Hoshangabad district in Madhya Pradesh began a different ball game, throwing seed balls to bring greenery to hillocks, jungles and open spaces.
The state forest department and district administration started a ten-day programme of throwing 25 lakh balls made of clay and compost and containing seeds of 30 indigenous plant species across the district. To emulate the success of many African nations of ushering in greenery by hurling seed balls, the drive was started to mark World Environment Day on Wednesday.
But preparations started two months ago, with the balls being prepared by the forest department in the Satpura jungles. “If you scatter native plant seeds, they are often eaten up by insects, birds and rodents, or washed away by rain. But the seeds we are using are protected inside balls. When it rains, the clay in the ball holds the water and helps the seeds to germinate. When the seeds germinate, the compost helps the seedlings grow,” said Ajay Pandey, Hoshangabad DFO.
“All we need to do with these seed balls is to throw them, which we’ve started. Our department staff as well as field staff, including the panchayat staff, will keep on throwing these seed balls in gaps all around and after pre-monsoon showers, we hope that a large part of these seed-balls will germinate into proper saplings and then trees,” said Pandey.
The seed balls will be thrown until June 15, when pre-monsoon showers are expected to arrive.“Even if 5-10 per cent turn into plants, we’ll have at least 1.25 lakh to 2.5 lakh trees across the district.”