Society

Nailed it: saying 'no' to advertisements on trees

An environmental outfit is effectively preventing people from putting ugly advertisements on our trees

The belief that you only need the will to do something gets reinforced by this unique initiative of Save Green. The outfit, active in the field of environment, removes posters and advertisements from trees in the city. Upon spotting a tree with a poster stuck to it, the team reaches out to the offender and tells him or her to remove it. It is then followed by recording the details — the organisation’s name, place and number —into Save Green’s website. Later, they check the records. “If we find a repeat offender, he/she is given a warning. In most cases, they do listen but those who don’t have to deal with an official police complaint,” says Hemant, who founded Save Green in 2009. Just a few days back, he filed an FIR at the Cubbon Park Police Station, against a person running work-from-home business.

Being a non-Kannadiga and being short doesn’t make things easy for Hemant, but his absolute commitment and forthrightness turn things around. “A lot of times people think ‘what can he do. He looks so young’. But I know what I am doing. Many times, people tell me that BBMP has given them permission, I know they are lying. The Forest Department of BBMP doesn’t give anybody the permission to stick posters onto a tree,” says Hemant.

Not only do these posters look ugly they also make trees unhealthy. “The holes which are left behind after removing the hoarding, allows insects and termites to enter. It makes the tree hollow and weak,” explains Hemant.

Save Green is a voluntary organisation, which largely operates on minimum funds put in by Hemant. “Nobody is paid any salary. I can’t even afford to. So, I can’t spend any money on the treatment of trees. All I need is a dedicated team, which commits to give time. People call and say they want to work as volunteers but when it comes to actually doing anything, nobody turns up,” feels the Punjab-born young activist. When it started, Save Green was mostly involved with tree plantation and highlighting issues like water conservation, pollution and traffic, but in 2016, it branched out to poster removal as well.

Till now, the outfit has removed hundreds of posters, the details of which can be easily found on the website year-wise. The team maintains a meticulous record of the organisations and companies whose posters are put up. “I feel, it needs to be made public so they think twice before doing it again. Also, we need to check if it is a repeat offender for they need to be dealt with stringently. Earlier, we used to go and remove the posters ourselves but now we tell them to come and take it off. I feel, the whole thing will register in their mind more strongly. Also, in certain situations, the team feels a little vulnerable.”

He reveals most of the ads belong to work-from-home followed by PG accommodations, broadband services, tiffin for home delivery. “In Kundanhalli alone, we removed 50 different kind of ads on a single day. But one good thing which is happening is an increase in awareness. Now, I have people who call up to inform and when I encourage them to do it on their own, they remove the poster and send me pictures of the before and after. One man in Basaveshwaranagar is doing it. I have never seen him but he keeps in touch on Whats app.”

Save Green is soon going to distribute handbills at public places in order to create more awareness about the harm of punching, nailing and the use of gums cause a tree.

(For details visit savegreen.in or tweet them on @savegreenin)

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 10:21:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/save-green-is-an-environmental-outfit-which-removes-ugly-posters-from-trees/article19179396.ece

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