EcoSikh marks Sikh Environment Day by creating first ever Guru Nanak Sacred Forest in Bathinda

Launches ‘Breathing Punjab’ an awareness project to counter the scourge of Air Pollution

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March 14, 2019

Chandigarh: EcoSikh has organized and launched the first ever Guru Nanak Sacred Forest in Bhatinda commemorating the 550th birth-anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Shubhendu Sharma, Founder of Afforestt and India’s foremost expert on forest creation spearheaded the creation of this forest in Bathinda at village Gill Patti. In a 3-day workshop organized by EcoSikh, over 100 individuals from all over Punjab were taught the Miyawaki Afforestation Methodology. They were trained by Sharma himself and his team while building this 100 sq meter forest by planting 350 trees.

This is the first of its own kind of forest created in the name of Guru Nanak by volunteers and EcoSikh collaborated with Datar Educational and Environmental Trust based in Bhatinda for this initiative.

The press meet was addressed by a distinguished panel of environmentalists & nature experts from across India. This included Shubhendu Sharma, Founder of ‘Afforestt’, who left a thriving career job at Toyota, Japan, to follow his passion of creating urban jungles across India. Other who spoke were Charan Singh, EcoSikh Forest Creator from Mumbai, Supreet Kaur, EcoSikh India President, Ravneet Singh, EcoSikh Project Manager, Gaurav Gurjar from Jodhpur, a Jungle Tree Expert with Afforestt, Manjula Sularia, Director, Prasanchetas Foundation, Chandigarh, Harpreet Kaur Bagga, EcoSikh Board Member (Ludhiana) and Ibadat Singh, VP (Ops), Datawind.

While giving details of the Guru Nanak Sacred Forest, EcoSikh’s Forest Creator, Charan Singh said, “Our 1st forest includes 33 different native species that were planted and it is also the 1st Miyawaki forest in Punjab. We were thrilled by the enthusiasm shown by the attendees at the training sessions and we are confident that we will surpass the target of 1 million trees set by EcoSikh before the upcoming 550thgurpurab.”

“I strongly believe that every EcoSikh can create one Guru Nanak Sacred Forest.” added Charan Singh.

Shubhendu Sharma, who has planted 132 forests in 16 different countries, explained, “We are happy to collaborate with EcoSikh to create sacred forests in the state of Punjab. Punjab and other parts of Northern India desperately need the green cover.  The Miyawaki Afforestation Methodology of developing mini jungles is a very effective way to bring back Punjab’s lost forest cover. This is the most effective and natural way with which one can plant over 550 trees in 200 sq meters of space. The forest grown by this methodology grows 10 times faster, they are 30 times denser, 100 percent biodiverse and natural. These forests have more than 99 percent of survival and need minimum maintenance.”

Gaurav Gurjar, Jungle Tree Expert, from Afforestt Jodhpur shared his experience, “I have witnessed that the only jungles that we are left with have some community ownership and are sacred. It is great that EcoSikh has re-initiated the concept of sacred forests that are native and biodiverse. These forests would serve as the genetic banks for the future generations and ensure its co-existence and survival.”

Ravneet Singh, EcoSikh Project Manager declared EcoSikh’s plans to continue such sacred forests across Punjab and other parts of India and abroad, “EcoSikh and Afforestt will be conducting 10 such workshops in Punjab to revive Punjab’s lost forest cover and create a generation of forest creators and climate warriors. It is now the right time for the community to come forward to show their commitment to the great Guru and practice his message by planting 1 million trees on their lands. We have received over 40 such forest proposals from all over the state.”

EcoSikh India President, Supreet Kaur also launched EcoSikh’s launched newest awareness initiative on air pollution, ‘Breathing Punjab’ in partnership with the US-based 350.Org which will be operational in Ludhiana and Chandigarh to guide the citizens on air pollution and how to cope with the rapidly deteriorating air quality in the cities and the rural areas. “This project will be managed by a local NGO, Prasan Chetas Foundation in the tri-city and the EcoSikh team in Ludhiana. As per WHO air pollution kills 8 million people each year including 6 lakh children who die at an early age. Every hour 800 people die just because they are not breathing the right quality of air. Despite this, least attention is being given by countries to check air pollution. Under the newly launched projects, EcoSikh will work with 350 Org to support the state government to create awareness for the health of citizens, especially children and the elderly.”

According to 2018 World Air Quality Report, six cities of Punjab namely Mandi Gobindgarh, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Khanna and five cities of Haryana namely Gurugram, Faridabad, Jind, Rohtak, and Punchkula have been featured in the list of most polluted cities of the World. Among Punjab cities, Mandi Gobindgarh ranks at the top at 26th position followed by Amritsar at 57th, Jalandhar at 82nd and Ludhiana at 95th position.

To read press note in Punjabi click : Press note Punjabi