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  Meet the green bomb squad

Meet the green bomb squad

Published : Jun 30, 2016, 10:10 pm IST
Updated : Jun 30, 2016, 10:10 pm IST

A group of eco warriors in the city is setting off a green explosion by scattering around seed bombs made of dried seeds, soil and compost

Students at Roseneil High School, Bhayander create seed balls at the workshop
 Students at Roseneil High School, Bhayander create seed balls at the workshop

A group of eco warriors in the city is setting off a green explosion by scattering around seed bombs made of dried seeds, soil and compost

It took a Facebook post for wildlife photographer and businessman Vikas Mahajan to understand the importance of maintaining the biodiversity in nature. The post went on to state that while countries likes Canada have 8,953 trees per person for its population of 318 billion, India, has just 28 trees per person for a population of 1.267 billion. He says, “I was worried after studying those statistics. I realised that we need to take matters into our own hands.”

 

Four years ago, Vikas started the group, Friends For Reviving Our Green Earth. The group meets on weekends with a mission to make Mumbai greener. They visit deforested areas in and around Mumbai, to plant seeds. Vikas admits that their previous efforts of sowing seeds didn’t bear any fruit — literally and figuratively— as ants and birds proved to be an unforeseen problem. That’s when he turned to his friend’s advice of creating ‘seed bombs’.

He says, “Every time we visited those spots, we were surprised to see barren land instead of plants sprouting out of these seeds. About one year ago, a friend suggested that we plant seed bombs instead. We thought of giving it a try.” The core team includes an architect, a marketing manager, a dermatologist — all bound by a passion for a greener environment.

 

So what exactly are these seed bombs The seeds are first washed and dried. It is then mixed with three portions of mud and one portion of compost, which is later moulded into dough. Vikas says, “Once it is ready, the bomb is placed in the soil after scooping out a mud-ball. This ensures that the seeds aren’t washed away.”

The group makes a conscious effort to plant seeds that are native to Maharashtra. Seeds of fruits such as mangoes, watermelon, jackfruit, lemon, chikoo, litchi, bor and custard apple are accepted from citizens and schools. Vikas states, “Another plus point of planting these fruit trees in forests is that it won’t compel animals to step out of their habitat in search of food. We need to understand that climate change is a real threat, and we need to do something about it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility about your environment is a waste of time.” The team recently visited the Sanjay Gandhi National Park to clean the trail of mess created by visitors during weekends.

 

Apart from this, the group also visits schools across the city and Thane where they hold workshops on how to create seed bombs, and sessions on deforestation. Vikas also held a workshop on how to create a bird-friendly environment in the city. He says, “These days, pigeons and crows are the only birds you see in Mumbai. This is a sign of high pollution levels and one must be worried. At the end of the day, you can’t just take from nature — you need to give back too.”

For more details, write an mail at ffroge@gmail.com