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Cyclists will drop seed bombs along a 10-km stretch on Independence Day in Mumbai

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Independence Day is one of the most special occasions for every Indian. This year Independence Day will witness a unique form wherein cyclists will drop seed bombs along a 10-km route in the Aarey Colony, Mumbai.

This is the first time that something like this is going to take place. The plan to drop seed bombs comes in the wake of the government’s decision to carve out a 28-hectare plot out of Aarey Colony to set up a car shed for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro 3 corridor. Nearly 3,184 trees are likely to be chopped off for the project.

This step will lead to aerial reforestation which is a technique of introducing vegetation by throwing or dropping seed balls on land which are off limits of barren.

Ikheti, which is a community enterprise founded in 2012, is the organiser of the event. Priyanka Shah, who is a member of this community said, “Planting saplings need more money and manpower, and can be successful only if done inside compounds or fixed premises. Our aim of using seed balls is to disperse as many seeds as possible so that the scope of the activity is not restricted. It is an effective measure in the long run with sustainable solutions to bring in with itself”.

She is involved in this initiative and is working towards the making of organic seed bombs which are to be used during the drive. The organisers have chosen seeds of papaya, drumstick and popper pod trees as they are easy to germinate. These seeds will also be beneficial to the tribals who generally do not have access to such fruits.

The popper pod, she said, would grow into a tall tree which blossoms with yellow flowers and can survive in the harshest of environments. It needs practically no maintenance to grow and is a supplier of a great amount of oxygen.

Monsoons are the right time to opt for aerial reforestation as when you throw the seeds into the environment you don’t know where they would land, and thus, a natural supply of water needs to be maintained, which is abundantly available during monsoons.

“We have selected four to five spots in Aarey Colony, where we will go and plant seeds. But otherwise, this seed-throwing activity is what is going to be the focus of this drive,” Ms Shah further added.

The seed balls will be made of mud with a high content of the red soil, clay and organic compost with pancha gavia. These will be further shaped into truffle-sized balls with seeds inside them.

Aerial reforestation has been adopted by many environmentalists as it increases vegetation and rejuvenates tree and plant species in the long run.

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