With the first few showers already moistening Delhi’s otherwise arid landscape, the forest department has started its annual plantation drive. The target is to plant at least five lakh saplings. Hopes exist of better participation from residents this year. Accompanied by 3-4 MLAs in each of the three zones—South, North and West— AAP volunteers will participate in a ceremonial plantation drive next month, as part of the Delhi government’s drive against air pollution.
About 450 saplings of kadamb, neem, pilkhan and other trees were planted. Each resident was given herbs such as ajwain, tulsi and curry leaves to be planted at home. The volunteers will help residents ensure that their saplings grow well but they, themselves, must also visit regularly.
A resident may collect saplings from the forest department free of cost. Resident Welfare Associations usually take saplings from the Delhi Parks and Gardens Society and already about 12,000 saplings have been given to RWAs and other large establishments such as CRPF.
RWAs and residents can make the most of these annual plantation drives by opting for species that attract birds. Birds need hedges and creepers, even thorny bushes, to build nests. They should go for fruiting trees such as fig, gular, pilkhan, kusum, kadam, amrut and a variety of berries. Even bougainvillea can attract sparrows if gardeners don’t prune them too often, the authorities said.
The plantation drive is likely to continue till October and will focus on mixed forestry. Plantations have already begun in Shastri Park where 24,000 saplings will be sown over 22ha. Pits have been dug in Tughlaqabad, Tilpat, Taj Enclave and other venues.