About 45 kilometers away from Pune, in District Khed, lies the lush green village of Ranmala. Its villagers are a happy and prosperous lot, as the village has an abundance of water for drinking, farming, and other daily needs. However, this wasn’t the case always as Ranmala was a drought-stricken village like others in the region. In 2003, a retired school teacher, P T Shinde, started a unique ritual of planting a tree sapling in the village whenever a child was born or marriage took place. He even gave saplings to those who lost a family member to plant one in their loving memory. It didn’t stop here as they even had to ensure the tree’s wellbeing till it grew up. Today, the village is not only self-sufficient in its water needs but has helped other villages to replicate the same model with identical success.
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we all developed an emotional bond with trees and carried out a lifelong tree plantation drive? Just as we nurture and care for our children till they grow into independent beings, imagine doing the same with trees. After all, trees furnish us with two essentials of life, food, and oxygen.
Check out these interesting facts about trees:
- One acre of trees absorbs about six tons of carbon and exhales four tons of life-giving oxygen which takes care of the needs of 18 to 20 people for a year
- The same acre consumes all the carbon dioxide your car would spew out if you drove it for 40000 kilometers
- If every single Indian citizen planted one tree each in his/her lifetime, our country would be greener by 1350 million trees.
- A single tree provides almost 260 pounds of oxygen every year
Read ahead to know the value that trees impart and the roles they play in our society:
Environmental and Ecological Value: Trees are one of the largest contributors to making our planet livable by providing oxygen, enhancing air quality, holding the soil together, conserving water and supporting wildlife. One acre of trees absorbs about six tons of carbon and exhales four tons of life-giving oxygen which takes care of the needs of 18 to 20 people. Pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide are absorbed by trees which filter dust too from the surrounding air. Trees control the climate by moderating the effects of the harsh sun, powerful winds, and heavy rainfall too. Even the leaves that fall make excellent compost for other plants to grow. Holding the soil together is another important function which prevents soil erosion effectively.
Social and Community Value: Walk into a tree-lined road and there is a sense of peace and tranquility that we notice apart from the pleasant temperature reduction in the area. They are an important part of our community as they enhance the quality of lives by combining urban settings with natural wildlife. We city dwellers owe a lot to trees as they reflect the sunlight which reduces the heat to a great extent, especially when sunlight bounces of pavements and glass building facades. The sentimental value of trees is immense and cannot be measured in terms of benefits.
Economic and Property Value: Homes that are surrounded by trees and shrubs help in reducing cooling costs to a great extent. Air conditioning needs are reduced by almost 30% when a home is in the midst of trees and can contribute to savings. Well-maintained apartment complexes with tree-lined streets and avenues can demand a higher price in the property market. These substantial economic benefits can be direct or indirect but lead to savings in energy costs. Real estate experts have always maintained the fact that trees and greenery enhance the sales appeal of homes and they are likely to be picked up quickly by buyers.
Bustling cities like Mumbai are subjected to increasing levels of pollution and growing construction activity is taking its toll on our health too. Even from a selfish point of view, it is important to plant more trees and look after those around us. The average temperature in cities has increased over the past few decades due to the rapidly-reducing tree cover. Trees can cool the streets and homes by shading them and making it a more pleasant place to live. Studies have shown that neighborhoods and homes with a barren landscape have greater incidents of violence than those populated with trees. However, it is important to plant local trees instead of opting for imported or foreign trees. Trees have a better chance of growing and surviving if they are of Indian origin and the Government and Municipal corporations have woken up to this fact too.
Their ecological and environmental value to our society is immense and hence it is important to plant and nurture as many trees as possible. Instead of depending on the authorities to plant and care for trees, let us take it up as a social responsibility to populate our city with the right trees, nurturing and treating them as members of our family.