Massive afforestation drive to begin in Chennai
If theTN forest department is successful, Chennai may soon become a green gotham. Instead of monster buildings, tall trees will block sunlight in more streets, and provide shade to residents beaten down by the scorching heat. In a massive afforestation drive, the urban forestry department is all set to distribute over one lakh tree saplings for Chennai city and suburbs. The saplings will be sourced from the satellite nurseries of the department’s five ranges in greater Chennai region, and the project is expected to increase the green cover of Chennai by at least 5%. Mimosas, Trumpet tree, Tulip tree, Terminalia Arjuna, Neem tree, Country Badam tree and Guazuma are some of the saplings that will be planted. Portia tree and Alexandrian Laurel will be planted in the coastal region. All these saplings will be planted in July of this year before the rains start. The department has spent Rs 32 to Rs 40 from the Tamil Nadu Forest Department Fund for the preparation of each sapling. Chennai has an estimated 4.5% of its area under green cover. Large closed campuses of industries, private and public institutions are expected to take part in the project. The saplings will be available at Velachery, Anna Nagar, Padappai, Perungalathur and Madhavaram forest range divisions. Experts say that highly polluting establishments such as Chennai port should create a green boundary to reduce pollution affecting the surrounding areas. “Corporates can adopt degraded quarry sites and hillocks in city suburbs and plant thousands of saplings, which would possibly survive as all the varieties that would be distributed are suitable for the entire Chennai region,” said Dr D Narasimhan, a senior environmental consultant and professor of Madras Christian College. S Soundararajan, district forest officer, said that the department will distribute the tree saplings free of cost mainly to educational and commercial institutions and industries. “The survival of atleast 80% saplings has to be assured and the department will give technical advise and help for the further protection of these saplings,” he said.