Ludhiana the world’s most polluted city according to the World Health Organization (WHO) — will now attempt to break an environmental record, for the most tree saplings planted in an hour, as part of ‘Earth Hour’ celebrations on July 20. While the current record, as per the Guinness Book of World Records, is held by Assam ( the state planted 40,800 trees in an hour), the city has targeted planting 1 lakh trees in an hour. The idea has been conceived by ‘Sambhav’ an organisation working to improve the city’s green cover.
Arrangements are being made to dig one lakh pits in advance to speed up the work between 8 and 9 am on July 20. The organization has planned to distribute one lakh saplings after registration to maintain the count.
Talking to Ludhiana Newsline, Jaswant Zafar, an employee in Punjab State Power Corporation Limited who is with Sambhav, said, “It is high time for Ludhiana to wake up and take a call. Green cover does not exist at all and MC greenbelts are namesake. We got the idea after I visited Mysore a few months back and there a rickshaw puller told me how he loves the greenery of his city. We can see level of attachment a citizen has to his city which is nil in Ludhiana. He even told me how Chandigarh has maintained its greenery. Now it is our turn”. He added that ‘till July 15 all pits will be dug and their photographs will be collected.’ “After the photos are submitted, participants will collect saplings from our offices,” he said before adding that as per data from the MC office, there are 63 green belts and 812 public parks which will be covered along with hospitals, schools, canal sides, power offices.
“We have to ensure proper care of the plants after plantation. Only five per cent of saplings planted by public offices survive. All participants will be taking pledge to protect trees,” Zafar said. Machinery will be used to dig one lakh pits. “The mayor assured us 4,000 employees for one hour from Municipal Corporation and Deputy commissioner has assured one lakh saplings from the forest office,” he said.
However, when contacted, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said, “I am yet to talk to MC commissioner if 4,000 employees can be deployed for their help. The final status will be provided on Friday”. District forest officer Daljit Singh Brar too did not gave a satisfactory reply. “Currently there is no scheme to provide plants free of cost but I have forwarded the proposal. We have enough plants which will be supplied but cost factor is yet to be decided,” he said.
Zafar added that a letter is being sent to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to apprise him about Earth Hour in Ludhiana. “Guinness World Record team has been contacted and a fee of 700 pounds is being paid,” he added.