Ahead of World Sparrow Day, join a tree-planting initiative that aims to change habitats for a bird population on the decline
Maybe the worst part about having a day dedicated to something or someone is the fact that the celebration is restricted to 24 hours. We are reminded of this during a conversation with Subhajit Mukherjee, who mentions that days such as Women's Day, or World Sparrow Day, which will be observed tomorrow, should also be a date to accomplish something. Mukherjee, a Charkop resident, is the founder of Mission Green Mumbai, a citizen's movement to plant one crore saplings across
World Sparrow Day was initiated by the NGO Nature Forever Society of India in 2010 — it's a call to save the house sparrow, whose population has declined by about 50 per cent due to pollution levels and insufficient space for the birds to build nests. A week ago, Mukherjee, a former HR professional, decided to lend heft to the day with an initiative to plant thousand saplings across educational institutions and housing societies, mainly concentrated between Andheri and Dahisar. A total of 640 saplings have already been distributed, with a massive plantation drive planned in Borivali tomorrow to reach their target. "I realised that rather than just talk about conservation and sell products, it is better to get people directly involved in this. You can't make a difference in one day," he tells us.
Subhajit Mukherjee distributes saplings of ficus benjamina
Although awareness about conservation has risen, according to Mukherjee, people don't know the what and the how of sustaining such an initiative. That's where his organisation steps in. One only needs to contact him to purchase seeds and saplings, ideal for sparrows to build a shelter, and Mukherjee will give them instructions on how to sustain it. "A lot of trees don't support sparrows; they may be too shady, for example. And most people don't know how to maintain plants. Seeds can't be put on a rocky patch. You also need a minimum distance of six feet from the concrete wall and a five feet gap between two trees. And the plant needs to face the sky," he explains, proceeding to talk about how select plants like the ficus benjamina make for a great option. "Sparrows aren't like pigeons who barge into your house. They are good birds. They need bushy plants so they can build nests." At the end of the day, Mukherjee says, it all boils down to individual effort. "Breathing is also like eating food. Our vision is to see every Indian grow their own oxygen."
On March 20, 9 am to 12 pm
At VK Krishna Menon Academy, off Gorai Road, Borivali West.
Cost Rs 250 (price of one sapling)
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