When the second wave of COVID-19 infections hit the country, many places experienced a severe shortage of medical oxygen which led to the unfortunate deaths of several people. During this time, Aravind, the founder of Bengaluru-based NGO BiotaSoil, which focuses on creating self-sustaining forests and afforestation, realised how important oxygen is for life. This led to him contemplating conducting a tree plantation drive, in a bid to help increase oxygen levels in the atmosphere. However, around this time, Aravind lost his aunt and uncle to COVID-19, and their deaths affected him deeply.
âThey were very good people but nobody except just two or three from their immediate family were allowed to see them. Before the pandemic, we could at least see the deceased and pay our final respects to them, but now that was also not possible,â he said. It was then that Aravind came up with the idea of planting trees to remember and pay homage to his aunt and uncle.
âWhen I thought about it, I realised it was not just me. In the second wave, several people had lost their loved ones and couldnât really pay a proper homage. And since ancient times, there is a practice of doing something beneficial for society to pay homage to the dead. I thought, by doing this tree plantation drive and getting people to contribute towards it, it would be a way to actually allow them to get some relief from the pain,â he shared.
Following this, Aravind said that another NGO, Jhatkaa.org, helped conduct the fundraiser for the project. According to Jhatkaa.org, Rs 300 covers the cost of one saplingâs logistics, planting and maintenance for three years.
As of July 19, over Rs 50,000 had been raised for the plantation drive. Preparations for the same have begun in Kommasandra, in the outskirts of Bengaluru, and will officially begin on July 31.
Going forward, Jhatkaa.org intends to expand this program. Speaking to TNM, Chiku, the Engagement Associate at Jhatkaa.org said, "We plan to plant 2,000 saplings, and need people's support for the same. We look forward to people joining us. They can contribute towards a tree to pay homage to their loved ones. This initiative will contribute to a sustainable India and act as an oxygen center for future generations as well."