Forests are one of nature’s great providers. A source of water and food security, they also give us everything from paper and medicine to renewable energy, low-tech air conditioning and air cleansers. They also protect and enrich biodiversity and are a major tool in the fight against climate change.
Ask several people what a forest is and their answers will probably differ. This is because forests are busy and complex living worlds. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. The theme for each International Day of Forests is chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. The theme for 2018 is Forests and Sustainable Cities.
This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of woodlands and trees, and celebrate the ways in which they sustain and protect us. This year we highlight the importance of forests in powering sustainable cities, improving people’s lives and mitigating climate change.
Forests and trees store carbon, which helps mitigate the impacts of climate change in and around urban areas; Trees also improve the local climate, helping to save energy used for heating by 20-50 percent; Urban trees are excellent air filters, removing harmful pollutants in the air and fine particulates; Trees reduce noise pollution, as they shield homes from nearby roads and industrial areas; Forests in and around urban areas help to filter and regulate water, contributing to high-quality freshwater supplies for hundreds of millions of people.
Well-managed forests and trees in and around cities provide habitats, food and protection for many plants and animals, helping to maintain and increase biodiversity; Forests in cities and surrounding areas generate tourism, create tens of thousands of jobs and encourage city beautification schemes, building dynamic, energetic and prosperous green economies; Urban green spaces, including forests, encourage active and healthy lifestyles, improve mental health, prevent disease, and provide a place for people to socialize.
Keeping all that mind and in order to bring awareness about the importance of trees and forests, the Karnataka State Forest Department along with Anti-Pollution Drive Foundation- Mangaluru and Antony Waste Handling Cell Pvt Ltd (the company that handles disposal of waste/garbage for Mangaluru City Corporation} organized “International Forest Day” on 21 March 2018 at Tree Park-Tannibavi, Mangaluru. Nearly 100 students participated in the programme, who also took part in the Debate, Drawing, Poster Making and Quiz.
This is part of APD Foundation’s yearlong resolution to celebrate all the eco-friendly days. Although the theme for International Forest Day 2018 is “Forests and Sustainable Cities”, but the organizers have decided to have a local theme “Trees Over Hoardings”. ‘Hence APD team has decided to promote ‘Trees over Hoardings’ concept to highlight the need to reverse the growing trend of trees being cut or felled to accommodate the rising numbers of advertisement hoardings in Mangalore city,” said Abdullah A Rehman-Chief Executive & founder of APD Foundation. The Day was inaugurated by planting a sapling in the Tree Park vicinity by chief guest Mahesh Nayak- Proprietor of Iris Design/Advisory Board Member of APD, along with guest of honor-P. Sridhar, Range Forest Officer, Mangaluru; Abdullah A Rehman, founder of the APD Foundation; Venkateshwara- Deputy Range Officer; and Rekha Sachin-Forest Guard.
Addressing the gathering chief guest Mahesh Nayak said, “If we look around the City, many trees or trees branches are being cut to make way for advertisement hoardings. This is illegal to cut trees without permission from the concerned authorities, but still people do it. Also if you look around the city due to infrastructure, the high raises stand taller than the trees, thereby taking away the natural beauty of the city. Mangaluru which was once a green city has turned into a concrete city, with high rise buildings, apartments etc, thereby killing the clean and green environment. Through programmes like these we need to bring awareness among the people that they should not cut trees, instead protect them for a clean and green environment”
“Nobody would be able to escape adverse effect of this destruction. The disappearance of forests results in changing rainfall pattern and causing drought conditions in large areas. There is a report that about 25 per cent of all the drugs are derived from trees. Trees also yield vital industrial oils, resins and dyes. Now we understand the importance of forests in the country’s economy. We also realize their value in maintaining the ecological balance. Now the government tries to save the forest land and reserve forest in the country. But the destruction of forests continues lakh of fresh trees are planted every year in India but they perish, for lack of care. While we celebrate International Forest day, we should see that we care for the trees and not cut them unnecessarily. I encourage and advise all you students to tour around this Tree Park and learn more about various Trees and also visit the information centre and get more details about forests and trees”added Shridhar.
Participant’s students took part in various contests like Debate, Quiz, Drawing and Poster Making- and won prizes for their talents. There was also An interaction between the students and dignitaries on topics pertaining to Trees and Forests. It was indeed a great day for all these students to enjoy the beauty of nature at the lush and green Tree Park, situated very close to the sea. Kudos to APD and its volunteers namely Karl D’cunha, Crystal Ria Pinto, Danush Desai, Anusha, Swadhik Masoor- and Ms Neha Shenoy- the Foundation Operation Manager who compered and handled the proceedings.