TIRUCHY: Well before the government launched the Green Mission, this environmentalist had contributed a lot to the afforestation drive across the Delta region and introduced the Miyawaki forest here and thus so far, he has created such 64 forests, coordinated for as many as 110 forests across the region for the past 22 years.
M Kalaimani, a Tiruvarur-based environmentalist started planting trees since 1999 as a single man army in the locality and the successful plantation drive reached the masses gradually and so, he formed Vanam, an organisation promoting the green drive among the students and creating awareness against plastic use and revival of waterbodies and preserving the environment.
“We have around 90 active volunteers in Vanam mainly youth and we have so far created as many as 64 Miyawaki forests in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai, Tiruchy, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruppattur districts in an area of 32 acres. Institutions and individuals contribute monetary support to go ahead with the cause,” says Kalaimani.
Apart from establishing Miyawaki forests by himself, Kalaimani has coordinated to establish as many as 110 forests in Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Pattukkottai, Karaikal and Puducherry. “Our volunteers would visit the spots and provide all round support prior to establishing Miyawaki forest and would continue to contribute their works in successful establishment of forest,” Kalaimani said.
This apart, the environmental group has sowed around 84,000 palmyra seeds in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur district while Vanam has adopted Thirupugalur panchayat in Nagapattinam and Thiyanapuram PU Middle School and undertaking various green works.
When asked about the recognition for his mission, Kalaimani said that he has not been working for publicity but saving the environment is his prime duty. “Still, I have received as many as 142 awards from various organisations and institutions. The Tamil Nadu government gave me the ‘Green Champion Award’ with a cash contribution of Rs 1 lakh this year,” he said.
Now Kalaimani created groups in several villages across the region and started working on ‘Grama Vanam’ (Village forests) by planting saplings in the Miyawaki method.
“Cyclone Gaja devastation had given me strength. After the ravage I stood up with double the strength and started reviving the green cover with the support of students in the locality and we could plant over a lakh saplings of around 170 species,” Kalaimani recalls.