World Environment Day: A sapling saga

TURA:  A crystal clear sky with touches of blue, and a spell of late afternoon shower, nature provided a perfect backdrop for this momentous occasion- celebration of World Environment Day across the Garo Hills region on Wednesday.

The slogan ‘One Man One Tree’ had clearly resonated across this region as hundreds of citizens in towns and villages, school and college children marched in unison to do their bit for the environment by planting tree saplings in their respective areas.

This year’s World Environment Day theme ‘Beat Air Pollution” was a message for everyone in Garo Hills to take serious note of.

With a fast expanding urban population accompanied by rising number of motor vehicles on roads, the continuing age old method of slash and burn (Jhum) cultivation leading to widespread destruction of forest cover, air quality in this western part of the state is no longer the same. And this day and occasion was perhaps the best to make a pledge to redeem the lot and recover the pristine.

Although tree plantation drives remained the highlight of the celebration of World Environment day, special attention was laid on the catchment areas and spring shed areas- the heart of nature’s storage.

To protect the vital source of the Ganol river awareness as well as tree plantation drives were taken out in its catchment areas such as Daribokgre, Chandigre, Sakalgre and Dura Kantragre areas during celebration of world Environment Day.

For the mighty Simsang river’s protection, an extensive tree plantation exercise was carried out in the spring shed areas of Dabit Songgital in Baghmara, Rongdong in Siju-Dobakkol and the upper stream extending all the way towards Williamnagar.

In West Garo Hills, various NGOs including Bakdil and hundreds of Self Help Groups together with the district administration led the way in raising awareness on the need to preserve our planet and protect our environment.

The government development blocks in different parts of Garo Hills played a crucial role in mobilising the people in the villages for this special annual event.

In Tura, a special programme to celebrate the day was held at Gandrak Dare, the only waterfall in the heart of Tura, with West Garo Hills deputy Commissioner Ram Singh lauding the initiatives of the different localities of the town which went out of their way to organise a cleaning drive on the eve of the celebrations and join hands in tree plantation.

“Since people of the area take care of the environment and surroundings by themselves, such occasions help people to revitalise the spirit of dedication and responsibility in protecting our environment for the future generations,” said Ram Singh while ruing about the need to take concrete steps to ensure better waste management system in the district.

The Secretary of the Ringre Gittim Development Committee, Michael P Hmar, said that responsibility to tackle air pollution lies with every single individual and all should join hands to ensure the forest cover gets increased.

The Tura Municipal Board, the lead department to ensure cleanliness of the town, recently held a meeting with the traders of Tura town where it was decided to discontinue the use of plastic, informed its chairman J D Sangma.

In other districts of Garo Hills,  Rongara-Siju MLA and Chairman of Meghalaya State Health Advisory Board, Rakkam A Sangma led Baghmara region in celebrating World Environment Day.

“This is a historic moment for all of us to play a vital role in protecting our environment,” said Rakkam.

The deputy commissioner of the district, H B Marak, said that preservation of our forest cover will ensure tourism thrives and led to income generation for the people of the region.

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