Under the dynamic leadership of CHANDA RANA, Save the Environment Foundation (SEF) has already completed a number of projects and programs in Nepal. As the oldest organization working to protect the environment of Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal, SEF is organizing various programs in June to celebrate the World Environment Day 2012. Rana spoke to NEW SPOTLIGHT on various issues. Excerpts:
What is your plan for the World Environment Day, that is, June 5, 2012?
To mark the World Environment Day on 5 June 2012, we are going to prepare a 'Green Book for SEF - a survey of Greens promoted by SEF since 1998 to 2012 .We have already organized several green programs under the project Green Kathmandu. I am very happy about this year’s theme Green Economy: Does it include YOU?, which is very important and significant for us.
What programs have you launched in Nepal?
SEF is first organization to launch ‘‘Green movement '' in concrete jungle of Kathmandu. Our organization has constructed many environmental parks. We have planted around 8,000 trees in Kathmandu, starting from green belt of Ring Road to Tundikhel, Singha Durbar, Babarmahal to Airport route. Everyone can see now that over eighty percent of the trees have grown up in these areas.
What are the major plants you have planted in Nepal?
We have first historical Ginkgo Biloba Plantation in Nepal, among other plants. Save The Environment Foundation and Love Green Nepal jointly launched the first historical plantation of around 400 Ginkgo Biloba trees in inner boundary of Tundikhel and Nepal Army Headquarters premises in July 2003. Then Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa was a special guest at Tundikhel. I am proud that the trees planted are growing well these days. Ginkgoes planted by SEF can be seen inside the Tundikhel and Army pavilion premises.
Have you planted these trees other parts also?
SEF also took the initiation for planting Ginkgo Biloba trees in Nepal Army Headquarters, Kharitpati Army Barrack, Army Golf Course, Gokarna Golf Course etc. The trees planted in these premises are also growing satisfactorily. Altogether we planted 2000 Ginkgoes in Kathmandu.
Why did you choose Ginkgo?
Ginkgo Biloba is the oldest living tree on our planet earth. Ginkgo tree is the only living representative of the family Ginkgoaceae. Ginkgo's fossil records indicate that it has been growing on the earth for 250 million years when dinosaurs used to roam here. Charles Darwin, father of Evolutionary theories named it as a living fossil tree. Ginkgo trees have survived Hiroshima bombings as well hence it is called ‘‘trees of hope ‘‘. Ginkgo's female trees produce fruits which have great medicinal values, these fruits are called brain tonic too. They absorb higher amount of CO2 than other trees.
Where did Ginkgo trees originate?
The word "ginkgo" is derived from the Japanese word ginkyo, which stands for "silver apricot" referring to its fruits (seed). However, Ginkgo originated in China from where the trees spread to Japan, Korea
and throughout the world. Since ancient times, Chinese and Japanese monks have preserved ginkgo by planting them as sacred and fire-resistant trees in and around their monasteries, shrines, temples and mountain gardens. Leaves resembling that of Maidenhair Fern, ginkgo is also known as Maidenhair Tree.