Portsmouth Sikhs join forces with city Scouts to plant first of 550 trees honouring guru's birth
SIKHS and Scouts united to plant a tree in a major new environmental push over the weekend.
The sapling was the first of 550 set to be planted in Western Road, Cosham, in a drive honouring the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikh religion’s first leader, Guru Nanek Dev Jik.
It comes as part of a worldwide move to plant one million trees in celebration of the event, which is traditionally honoured in November.
City Sikh leaders were joined by children from the 54th Portsmouth Scouts Group, in Baffins, and councillors to mark the day.
Member of Portsmouth's Sikh community, C S Chadha – who is the education officer for the Punjabi Educational Social Cultural and Religious Organisation in Portsmouth – said: ‘The group EcoSikh aims to plant one million trees this year across the world.
‘We wanted to do our bit in the city to help improve the environment. We hope these new trees will improve the air quality and reduce noise pollution around the roundabout.’
Chris Scott, county youth programme team administrator for Hampshire Scouts, was delighted his children were involved in the day.
‘I’m 80 next month and seeing how people of different religions and cultural backgrounds have come together like this gives me hope for the future,’ he said.
The event was also supported by Portsmouth City Council, the High Commission of India and Portsmouth and Southsea tree wardens.
Tree warden co-ordinator Pauline Powell, said ‘three billion’ more trees were needed across Britain.
‘This has been really exciting project and I was amazed to hear about it,’ she said, adding: ‘Air pollution is so bad in Portsmouth, anything we can do to improve it has to be good.’
It is thought about 50 Sikhs live in Portsmouth.
The saplings will all be planted before the end of the year, Mr Chadha said.
A total of 420 trees have already been pledged to the project by The Woodland Trust through its free trees for schools and communities scheme.