"We shouldn’t rely on the government for these things when there is so much that we can do ourselves," Mallikarjun says.

Green Bengaluru Techie starts WhatsApp campaign urging people to plant saplings and post pictures
news Environment Friday, May 26, 2017 - 17:29

Bengalureans lately have been joining hands in large numbers to not only protect but also preserve the fast depleting green cover of the city.

Just recently, a group of residents of Sarjapur crowdfunded and translocated four trees that would, or else, have been axed due to an ongoing infrastructure project in the area.

Another such Samaritan is Mallikarjun Pagad, a techie based in the city, who has been using a WhatsApp campaign that urges people to plant more trees and send pictures of them planting.

Mallikarjun Pagad

Mallikarjun came up with the idea nearly one-and-a-half years ago when he received a message from a friend requesting him to plant a sapling.

“I was a part of many WhatsApp groups and I frequently received messages such as this one. But I realised that no one ever does anything about it. I spoke to my friend and I came up with the idea to ask people for pictures of the saplings they planted. That way, at least one out of a hundred people will actually do it,” he says.

While he started the campaign soon after and had been pushing it as well since then, it has picked up in the last one month.

“My idea wasn’t very successful in the beginning, because most people are unwilling to take steps to help the environment. I had to repeatedly send the same message to everyone on my contact list, which has around 500 people in it. Gradually, people began to plant the saplings, and then forwarded the message to their contacts, which really got the ball rolling,” he says.

Chandrakant Itgi from Mundargi

In the last month, Mallikarjun says he has received 90 pictures, even from people who he doesn’t know personally. And it is not only people in the city but also those from other parts of the state, including Mysuru, Mundargi and Hubli, who have been participating in the campaign.

“We shouldn’t rely on the government for these things when there is so much that we can do ourselves. The campaign is very simple. A person just needs to plant a sapling in any location of their choice, and ensure it grows by taking care of it for one year,” he says.

Roopesh Kumar from Mysore

The 34-year-old has always been conscious about the environment and says he had already planted close to 150 trees even before the WhatsApp campaign had started. “I began planting saplings as a child in my school premises in Mundargi. I moved to Benagluru for work, and I saw that there aren’t many trees here. I always felt the need to do something about it and this campaign was born out of that desire.”

Mallikarjun is now planning to introduce the campaign on Facebook too.

“This campaign is bigger than me and I think it will spread faster if I incorporate different social media into it. Also, it’s becoming a little difficult for me to keep track of the number of trees being planted,” he added.

Also read: Good Samaritans: B’luru residents pull off crowdfunding campaign to save trees from being axed

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