Walk around Bengaluru on a Sunday morning and chances are that you will come across a group of citizens removing advertisement posters from tree trunks in the city. They are volunteers of a non-profit organization named Save Green that works on environment conservation projects like planting trees, conducting cleanliness drives, spreading awareness about saving water, etc.
“These advertisements harm the trees a lot because the holes created on hammering those nails give access to termites, insects, etc. into the tree. Chemical reactions at the places where the nails have been placed also limit the growth of tree. Moreover, they look very ugly,” says Hemant, the founder of Save Green.
With his team of 20 people and several volunteers in Bengaluru, he set out on the mission of removing posters from trees on February 14 this year. Now, they go out every Sunday and remove posters from trees in the city, from 11 am to 2 pm.
The team consists of software professionals, college and school students, citizen activists, etc. Hemant works in the field of computer hardware and software servicing. Save Green keeps a record of all the posters they remove. They collect the numbers of the ad agencies from the posters and try to convince them to not use trees for advertisements. They also go for meetings with the ad agencies and explain that what they are doing is illegal. They have decided to put up this information near photocopy shops and printing press offices as well, because advertisers usually visit those places.
Till date, they have removed posters from areas like Old Airport Road, Domlur, New Thippasandra, HAL, Indira Nagar, HSR layout, etc. The team is also planning a 20 km walk from Kasturi Nagar to Hebbal to remove posters on the way.
According to Hemant, they also issue legal notices against advertisers who fail to stop putting up these posters. They have received support from Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for their efforts.
According to a report in Bangalore Mirror, mailing or pasting unauthorised advertisements on trees is a crime under the Prevention of Disfigurement Act 1981. The Act states: “Whoever by himself or through another person affixes to, or erects inscribes or exhibits on, any place open to public view any advertisement without the written permission of the local authority having jurisdiction over such area, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.”
“The need to conserve the environment is quite evident. I don’t think I need to remind people about that. But we all should do something extra in life, something that helps the society in a larger sense. Instead of browsing on Facebook or spending time doing nothing, I like to spend a few hours doing social work. And at this point, we need more support to keep the work of Save Green moving forward,” says 33-year-old Hemant.
Find more about Save Green here.