Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a campaign to encourage planting of trees on Environment Day, which falls on June 5.
Top players from across the spectrum of sports, including cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and boxer Mary Kom, have been roped in by the government to join the initiative as well. While the PM will plant a sapling at his residence on that day to launch the campaign, cricketer Virat Kohli and wrestler Sushil Kumar will plant saplings in a function at the Environment Ministry. Tendulkar, along with cricketers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, will join Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar at a similar event in Mumbai the next day.
Crickters Yusuf and Irfan Pathan will participate in an event to plant trees in Vadodara, while former leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani will launch a tree plantation drive in Indore.
“This is a good start and we appeal to the people to join the campaign by planting more and more trees,” Javadekar said at a function on Wednesday.
Other sportspersons including boxers Mary Kom and Sarita Devi, billiards player Geet Sethi and hockey star Viren Rasquinha will also participate in the campaign.
A simultaneous programme for regenerating ‘urban forests’ would be launched, said the environment minister. He suggested that even degraded forests in urban areas can be converted into ‘smriti van’, where people can plant trees in the memory of their loved ones.
“There are many cities where the forest department has land, but there are no forests on that land or they are degraded. We have now asked state governments to identify such places. In these places, through people’s participation, we will establish urban forests,” Javadekar said.