Project Green Hands (PGH), an Isha Foundation reforestation effort, has won the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar award.
A release says the PGH representatives received the Government of India award from former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as recognition of its efforts in creating environmental awareness and reversing ecological degradation. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh and a silver lotus trophy.
In order to commemorate World Environment Day and the receipt of the award, PGH has organised a sapling planting event at 32 places across the State.
The release says PGH aims at planting 114 million saplings to restore 33 per cent green cover in Tamil Nadu.
To date, the initiative has involved over two million people in planting 8.2 million saplings, increased the green cover of Tamil Nadu from 17 to 21 per cent in four years.
The PGH involves highly motivated volunteers, corporate and business houses, more than 263 schools/colleges and over 1,869 communities and has created 400 nurseries in over 21 districts.
The release says PGH also has a Guinness World Record of planting most number of saplings in three days: 8,52,587.
The planting was done in 6,284 locations across 27 districts in the State on October 17, 2006.
In the last six months, PGH has taken initiative to green two of the “most-polluted” and industrialised cities of Tamil Nadu: Tirupur and Karur.
This has been done by raising environment awareness and planting 25,000 and 10,000 saplings respectively.
In the next five years, PGH plans to reach out to 10 million people through innovative environmental awareness programmes, eco-clubs, media and mass events to distribute 15 million saplings; plant four million saplings in agro forestry involving farmers; establish a centre for environmental education; and, create 40 model green villages in four clusters.