In this series, individuals, citizen groups and RWAs explain how they have dealt with the COVID-19 crisis in a constructive manner. In this third part of the series, a resident of Vasanth Nagar describes the measures he took.
In these times of crisis, we are all stepping forward to take care of our fellow citizens, and animals too. But what about our plants? Who will take care of them? Will the thousands of small, weak and vulnerable plants lining Bengaluru’s streets survive these five weeks of nationwide lockdown without water, especially during the peak Bengaluru summer?
We, Citizens for Citizens (C4C), a self-help citizens’ forum, discussed these questions on our WhatsApp Group right after the lockdown was imposed on March 24. The answer was simple – these plants will not survive for long if we do not take care of them. As the founder and convenor of C4C, I decided to take care of the plants in and around Vasanth Nagar.
Identifying a team
I began by identifing who in our locality will be able to help in watering and otherwise caring for these plants. We decided not to include senior citizens in this effort. After identifying and getting in touch with interested people, we formed a team with Kishore Singh, a courier business owner; Aravind, a milk vendor; Arun Sharma, a medical representative, and myself.
Watering the plants
Starting March 26, every alternate day at around 5 pm, we set out on our two-wheelers with water in plastic pots and buckets, along with a mug. We collect water from a couple of public taps in Vasanth Nagar. We do not water medium to large-sized trees as they can take care of themselves.
While watering plants, we remove any trash accumulated at the base of the plants. We ensure all of us wear masks and maintain a distance of 1 metre from each other as well as the people we encounter. After completing our rounds, we wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water and then use a sanitiser.
We hope citizens across Bengaluru can take care of all the young and weak plants in their localities to ensure they survive this period when there’s no one to take care of them regularly. This is the only way to ensure the greenery of Bengaluru survives the lockdown.
Good to know another four new residents have just started watering the plants and young trees in and around Vasanthnagar apart from the Tree Team VRWA (Vasanthnagar Residents Welfare Association (R) which is looking after them since they were planted in 2016 by the Association.
VRWA, Volunteers, Residents, Students and the Corporator have to be credited for the greening of Vasanthnagar as it is s total Team effort, not only planting saplings but also regularly maintaining them by cleaning the surroundings, providing tree guards, watering, building bunds, pruning, adding red soil, manure etc.
Lockdown or no lockdown the plants are watered regularly.
Weekend maintenance is done by a team of more than 15 volunteers.
Dear Editor – Bangalore Citizen Matters:
We would like to bring to your attention that there is an extremely active Tree Team of Vasanthanagar Residents Welfare Association (VRWA), which in the last 4 years has been silently/deligently conducting the following activities:
1. Watering (daily during summer months between Feb and May in the last 4 years)
2. Replacing red mud at least twice every year
3. Pruning before monsoons
4. Proving support
5. Regular removing garbage around the trees
6. Placing and removing steel tree guards
7. Getting cement bunds built around the trees on main roads
Covid or no Covid, the above activities, wherever relevant are done by the Tree Team of VRWA.
Tree Team team covers in its above maintainence scope over 350 trees in and around Vasanthanagar, both main road and cross roads. Tree team has planted over 100 trees during March to August 2019.
Great initiative…similarly it is also our duty towards the birds ,and our other neighbours like squirrel. ..etc,small vessel/pot full of water placed on terrace roof.with some grains/sprouts etc for them to feed on also goes a long way in quenching thirst/hunger in a small way for these hapless species
For everyone’s Information have added tree team efforts and this is away from what you have posted…I am part of below tree team efforts over years and still doing it during lockdown as well for years
– 2016 April 23, VRWA planted close to 200 saplings. More than 60 to 70 volunteers were involved along with the core team members of VRWA. Entirely a team of effort
– Since 2016 VRWA has formed a core team called Team-Tree/VRWA comprising of about 10 to 12 core members, some of them residents and even students coming from other areas, who regularly do the following:
– replacing red mud at least twice a year
– regular trimming before the rainy season between Feb to June
– Regularly removing garbage and cleaning
– Daily watering for last 4 years during the months of Feb to May peak summer months
– providing support, removing steel guards
– Replacing dead saplings to ensure we have 99% success rate
– involving local residents in above activities
– During March to August 2019 VRWA launched project Trees@100 under which 100 more saplings were planted between March to August- 2019, with the core team working over weekends. The planting of the ? tree was done by noted environmentalist Mr. Suresh Heblikar in August 15, 2019
– the Tree Team has been consistently maintaining more than 350 trees in and around vasanthanagar for the last 4 years, not a sporadic ad-hoc activity to gain mileage/visibility.
The dedicated team has been silently going about doing their work with a lot of consistency. Carefully ensuring safety and growth of these trees being their only concern.