Chennai, Tamil Nadu: About 150 students of Vidhya Matriculation Higher Secondary School have doubled up as little ‘green warriors’ of Chennai. They have created 10,000 seed balls made of clay, soil, seed and manure to perform ‘seed bombing’, an aerial reforestation method in which the seed balls are dropped like bombs for growing vegetation cover.
This is a student-driven initiative as they wanted to do something for the environment after cyclone Vardah wreaked havoc on the city’s green cover last year in December.
Around one lakh trees – which are one fourth of the total tree population in the state – were destroyed in the aftermath of the cyclone in the state. This exercise aims at compensating for the huge loss that the disaster caused.
“Initially we were discussing about planting a lot of saplings but it was difficult to source them. We spoke to many NGOs and decided to make these seed balls which are very effective,” said Vidyasagar, correspondent of the school.
As soon as one enters the campus, it seems like an arsenal replete with thousands of ‘green bombs’ left to dry outside. Students, on a mission to paint their city green, believe that their small deed can lead to a bigger change.
“We have chosen neem and ponga seeds as these trees can withstand cyclones,” said Sukumari Madhavan, a Class 11 student.
The students believe that at least 75 per cent of these seeds would germinate and survive.
“This method has scientifically proven to be the most successful one,” said VM Hariharan of Class 12.
Their first stop for seed bombing was the Selaiyur Forest in south Chennai. The forest has still not recovered from the devastation caused by cyclone Vardah.
The students would also drop these balls in forest areas at Vellakkal, Perumbakam and Ponmar foot hills in the city.
This exercise, they say, is part of the many activities in the run up to the World Conservation Day on July 28.
“This would help our students to take ownership of the trees and they would never remove or cut trees,” said Teena, an English faculty member.
These children are hoping their attempt will trigger similar afforestation drive in other schools in the city.