According to latest estimates, Earth is home to approximately 3 trillion trees which has almost halved since the onset of human civilization. We lose approximately 10 billion trees every year due to human activities. SPHEEHA, a registered NGO which started its operations from Agra, India in 2006 and today has chapters across the globe in over 200 locations has been conducting its annual tree plantation since inception as a part of its objectives and commitments for preserving the environment and ecology of the planet.
SPHEEHA has planted thousands of saplings across the globe and follows-up with upkeep for three years to ensure their survival. About 84% of all the trees planted by SPHEEHA members in the past 15 years have survived. Trees are important to humans, not just for their products, but also for their ability to foster biodiversity, store carbon, preserve water quality, and perform other ecosystem services. In this context, SPHEEHA is already observing the Air Quality Index of Dayalbagh, where it has conducted Tree Plantation drives over the last 15 years improving at a steady pace. The average AQI levels of Dayalbagh are around 80 versus an average of AQI of 150 in the city center which is just 2 kilometers away (Source: CPCB).
This year, SPHEEHA conducted its biggest tree plantation drive by planting 55000+ saplings in over 200 locations across 4 continents. NGO’s like SPHEEHA with their tree plantation drives, lend a much-needed helping hand to the greening efforts of Governments and other organizations across the globe. SPHEEHA also participated in the “Iconic Week” under the ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June by conducting tree plantation along with the Office of the Commissioner, Central Goods and Service Tax & Central Excise, Agra.
This year’s tree planting function of SPHEEHA was inaugurated at Yamuna Pump -Dayalbagh. A ‘Guard of Honour’ was presented to Most Revered Prof. Prem Saran Satsangi Sahab, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Education to DEI Universityby a live band consisting of SPHEEHA volunteers in the age group 13-63 years followed by hoisting the Indian National flag along with singing the Indian National Anthem and a prayer at the Lotus Feet of the Almighty. Saplings were then planted by the dignitaries in Dayalbagh, Agra including Mr. G. S. Sood, President Radhasoami Satsang Sabha; Mr. M.A. Pathan, SPHEEHA President and Mr. P.K. Kalra, Director DEI. Saplings were simultaneously planted by volunteers of SPHEEHA and kids between the age group of 3 months to 6 years.
A “Nukad Natak” (Street Play) was performed by local kids of Agra in the age group of 10-13 years enunciating the impact of trees on environment and later Retd officer from the Forest Department, Mr. DK Pandey enthralled the audience with his poem in Hindi “Vriksh ki manav se appeal” (Appeal of the Tree to humans).
Many officials and dignitaries from across the globe joined the event which was connected over the internet and the live stream was managed by SPHEEHA Headquarters at Agra. Due to the prevailing pandemic conditions, social distancing norms and other safety measures were duly exercised everywhere.
Speaking on the occasion, SPHEEHA President, Mr. M A Pathan (Former Chairperson of Indian Oil Corporation and Former Resident Director, Tata Sons) said that,
“SPHEEHA continues its tradition of the past 15 years with its commitment of improving the environment and I am very pleased that this year we have set a new benchmark by planting over 55000 saplings. We hope to do more in the coming years.”
The global event coordinator, Col. R K Singh (Veteran) said,
“This year our focus has been on planting as many fruit trees as possible to achieve the dual objectives of both improving the green cover as well growing more local fruits in every region where we are present.”
The event was supported by an able team comprising of SPHEEHA Vice President, Rajiv Narain, SPHEEHA Secretary, Pankaj Gupta & Guard of Honour in-charge – Mr. Vinod Pathak along with various regional representatives from across the globe.