In a eco-friendly gesture , Bhubaneswar hospital gives away saplings with every new birth

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BHUBANESWAR:  Bringing home a newborn baby is one of the most beautiful feelings in parents' life  and they  leave no stone unturned to make this moment a memorable one.  Hoping that the nurturing instinct that kicks in when a couple holds their baby for the first time will also extend to other forms of life, a hospital  in Bhubaneswar city of Odisha  has started giving away a plant each to every new 
parent couple. The authorities of the 
government run Capital Hospital 
 here — which has launched the ‘shishu tie, gachha tie’ or ‘one child, one plant’ project — believe that the gift will serve several purposes. First, it will encourage both parents and very young children to care for plants. Second, the hospital feels that since the plant will be inextricably associated with the happiness that a child brings into the parents’ lives, there is little chance of it being neglected or discarded. The emotional bond will make this plant an integral member of their life and they will take care of it like their own child.

“We are telling parents that they are taking home not one but two babies. They will take care of the plant as they would their child. Just as they will not skip vaccinating their child, they won’t forget to water the plant,” said deputy superintendent of the hospital, Dhananjay Das.
“The birth of a child is an occasion to celebrate and we are encouraging parents to mark the day by planting a sapling. We want them to even name the plant. They can also plant saplings on each birthday of their child. Prospective parents have been made aware of the need for plantation and they are happy with the idea,” Das added.

The attempt — a tiny one that has resonated with new parents — comes against the backdrop of large-scale ecological destruction in the state caused by Cyclone Fani in May. Lakhs of trees were uprooted or damaged in the state capital alone when Fani hit on May 3. “This is a small attempt by us to revive the greenery of the city, besides celebrating the occasion,” hospital authorities said.
The hospital plans to distribute around 3,000 to 5,000 saplings during the monsoon, in association with the forest department. The hospital is distributing saplings like neem, baula, gooseberry (amla), ashok and peepal. “Our campus was full of big and small trees but Cyclone Fani uprooted or damaged a large number of them. We celebrated Van Mahotsav recently and it was then that we decided to distribute saplings to new parents,” Das explained.

Parents are either taking away the saplings or planting them within the hospital premises. Either way, they are enthusiastic about the idea of having a little plant growing along with their babies. “It is really a nice idea. We must plant trees for the next generation and create a little bit of greenery for the future,” said Sushant Barik, a new parent.

Divisional forest officer (DFO) of the city forest division, Ashok Mishra, said the department agreed to provide free samplings to the hospital as the idea appealed to it. “We are anyway distributing free saplings among the public so this is a nice way to create awareness about planting trees,” he said.  The initiative is a welcome move and will definitely go a long way in motivating others to carry forward the same momentum and practice eco friendly steps.

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