Meet Malabar Hill’s senior-most citizen!


June 6, 2006

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Heritage | History

Trees are dust collectors, sound dampeners and homes for birds and animals…

Incredible it may seem, but it’s true. In this concrete jungle of Mumbai, bang in the heart of South Mumbai, stands silent an proud, an ol’ banyan tree. And, for the very first time children from various schools gathered along with parents and a few residents of Godrej Baug in the vicinity, to tie ‘protective’ threads around the old, venerable Banyan tree. And the little ones had plans to honour the tree as though it were a ‘senior citizen’.

The reason why the young children gathered at the foot of the tree, was to remind adults that there is still lot to celebrate vis-à-vis World Environment Day which happens to be today.

The children hailed from various walks of life, some of them were students of municipal schools who were invited by the Additional Municipal Commissioner of BMC, Subrat Ratho and his wife Ruchita, to their Malabar Hill home.

Bittu Sahgal, noted environmentalist and Editor of Sanctuary Asia magazine says that every tree in the city is akin to an air conditioner. “Trees are dust collectors, sound dampeners and homes for birds and animals. They enhance the quality of life. This Banyan tree was born long before India’s Independence and we want to honour it.”

Smita Pandit, coordinator, Kids For Tigers (KFT), Mumbai says, “This tree is over a 100 years old. Mumbaikars should support such events and to the fullest. This is only the start and it should be carried forward.”

Incidentally, according to botanists, the ficus tree being honoured is around 150 years old and is located on the Parsi Panchayat land on Malabar Hill which is considered to be one of the best-protected natural havens in South Mumbai.

On schedule at yesterday’s event, was a teaching session by botanists and insect experts about intricacies of the plant and animal world.

‘Kids For Tigers’ an NGO was founded in 2000 by Sehgal. It seeks to create awareness among children about India’s biodiversity and sensitise them to environmental issues.

Original article here