The garden department of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has started a unique drive to increase the tree cover in the city.
SMC has launched a project where city residents would have to drop message on a dedicated number for sapling planting in the house. The staff from the garden department will reach the houses to plant sapling. The drive will be conducted between June 5 and June 16.
Surat with population of over 50 lakh, which is spread over 326 sq km area, the requirement of trees is at least 18 lakh, against which the city has only 6 lakh full-grown trees along with 4 lakh plants. If the survival rate works up to 65% for plants in the next two years, around 3 lakh more trees would be added to the total number.
As per the report ‘Status of Green Cover in Urban Areas of Gujarat’ published by the state forest department in 2011, the tree cover in the city was estimated in 1,184 hectare of area, which is just 3% of the geographical area—lowest compared to other cities in Gujarat
Heavy deforestation due to rapid urbanization has led to the situation where heat index is rising every year and mercury is seen crossing 41 degrees Celsius on regular basis during summer. The rainfall pattern, too, has changed from an average of 60 inches or 1,500 to 1,800 mm to about 35-40 inches and have not crossed 1,200 mm mark in the last three years.
In the past, too, Surat has conducted such massive plantation drives, but in the absence of proper care and lack of monitoring, these drives were rendered unsuccessful.