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This plumber transforms roadsides in Kerala into green spaces by planting trees

Manu John with the trees he has planted along the road at Pathanamthitta, Kerala. Photo: Special Arrangement.

Manu John is a plumber and electrician by profession, and for the last 15 years, he has been planting trees on roadsides in Pathanamthitta, Kerala. His mission is not just to plant saplings but to ensure that the saplings are protected and taken care of.

This 50-year-old native of Muttom in Pathanamthitta began his journey to plant trees after observing the lack of green cover along the roads. “I decided to plant trees along the roadside to help people enjoy cool shade while walking along the road in the hot sun and also to protect the earth from rapid urbanization. I really enjoy what I am doing and get a sense of accomplishment when I see the saplings grow into big trees under my care,” Manu told “Open Digest“.

One of the main road stretches where Manu has planted trees is between Pandalam and Pathanamthitta. He had also planted trees in the premises of village and panchayat offices. Manu started taking efforts to personally take care of the saplings by placing a protection net around them after noticing miscreants uprooting them.

“The biggest hurdle I face in my mission is that the saplings are uprooted by miscreants. The challenge is to take care of the saplings,” said Manu, who usually plants saplings of Jamun fruit and Spanish Cherry along the roadside. Manu also ensures that the saplings he plants receive adequate water and fertilizer for growth. He frequents each spot to maintain the area around the trees neat and clean. Manu has planted over 1,000 trees in the last 15 years.

“My mission is to plant as many trees as possible. I request everyone to do their bit to add more green cover by planting a tree wherever possible. This helps protect nature and prevent further environmental issues,” he said.

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