A bus conductor working for the Tamil Nadu State Road Transport Corporation (TNSTC) has gone beyond his line of duty and planted over 1 lakh trees.
Yoganathan, who is a regular on the Marudhamalai-Gandhipuram number 70 bus in the city of Coimbatore, has spent 28 years single-handedly planting trees across 32 Tamil Nadu districts to protect wildlife and to raise awareness among youth about the importance of environmental conservation.
“I am a native of Mayiladuthurai, near Nagapattinam. I was amazed by the beauty of the Nilgiris where I worked as a sales representative after finishing school. After having witnessed trees being smuggled out, I had staged a protest. Such events ignited the spark in me to work for conserving the environment,” Yoganathan told the TOI.
As a youth, Yoganathan developed a love for nature, in particular, trees. Before he was selected by the TNSTC as a conductor, he worked at a tea estate in Kodanad, where this love was nurtured with the help of Tamil Nadu Green Movement’s Jayachandran. Yoganathan was also one of the environmentalists to protest against the felling of trees in the Nilgiris during the 1980s.
When he is not planting trees or working to conserve the natural habitat of wildlife, Yoganathan works with local schools and colleges, educating the students on protecting trees and the dangers of tree felling. So far he has visited over 3,000 schools across the state to organise plantation drives and environmental awareness programmes and ensure that each sapling planted by a child is given the child’s name. It is claimed that he puts 40% of his monthly salary towards buying saplings and educating children.