Kerala will turn greener on Monday. One crore trees will be planted across the state on the World Environment Day as part of the Left Democratic Front government's 'Green Kerala Mission'. Schools, local self-government bodies, Kudumbasree units and voluntary associations are expected to take part in the ambitious drive.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has urged the people to support the initiative organized by the Forest, Environment and Agriculture departments.
The departments have supplied saplings of about 100 varieties of fruit-bearing and medicinal trees including moringa, seethappazham (custard apple), veetti (rosewood), teak, kunnivaka (kala siris), nelli (amla), elengi (bullet wood), thanni (bahera), asokam, mango tree, kanikkonna (rajbrikh), njaval (jamun), kambakam (Malabar ironwood), neermaruthu (arjuna), sandal, venga (bijasal), poovarasu (bhendi), curry tree, manimaruthu (jarul, queen crape myrtle) and kumbil (gamari).
Water guzzlers such as acacia and eucalyptus have been avoided. The government also plans to fell such trees on land owned by it and to plant other trees in their place.
A program to fell trees harmful to local ecology will also be launched on Monday.
Apart from the afforestation drive, the government also plans to put in place programs to keep soil and water sources clean. The program is in line with the motto of this year's World Environment Day - 'Connecting People with Nature'.
The saplings have been selected for their medicinal, fruit-bearing qualities and their native status. About 47 lakh saplings will be distributed among school students, one for each child.
The students are expected to plant them on the premises of their houses and nurture them to trees. The students who lack the space to grow a tree near their house will be provided a spot to plant the saplings near their school or any other public place.
The education department intends to follow up the program and reward students who nurture the trees.
The government intends to celebrate June as a month of planting. Every central and state government institution will be asked to plant a tree on their premises.
The Green Kerala Mission aims to plant as many trees as possible to conserve environment and to revive the water sources and to make Kerala greener.