This man from Manipur has single-handedly replanted 300 acres of forest land
Moirangthem Loiya left his job as a medical representative and dedicated 17 years of his life to replant denuded land in Punshilok, Manipur, and grow a lush 300-acre forest.
Human-led activities have resulted in a sharp decline in forest cover across the world. An example that stands out is the Amazon forest fire, a yearly feature and a problem created by farmers, industrialists, and other business stakeholders.
But many are fighting back. Closer home, a huge protest is on to save Mumbai’s Aarey forest, which is home to 10,000 tribal people, and the site of the proposed metro car shed for the upcoming Mumbai Metro Colaba-Seepz line. Many individuals are also doing their bit to save the environment and inspiring the rest of us.
Meet Moirangthem Loiya from Manipur, who has replanted the approximately 300-acre Punshilok forest in Langol hill range. The 45-year-old environmentalist replanted the forest by himself, without any aid or support.
Speaking to ANI, he said, “Today, the forest area covers 300 acres. As many as 250 species of plants and 25 species of bamboo grow here, and it is home to a variety of birds, snakes, and wild animals.”
So how did it all begin? Moirangthem has been a lover of plants and trees since childhood.
“When I completed my college and came back, I saw the entire forest in my area was gone; only small plants were left. I was very shocked and upset. The sight triggered the desire to do something for the environment.”
Moirangthem soon left his job as a medical representative and started living in Punshilok, where he built a small hut for himself. According to News 18, he stayed for around six years and planted a variety of trees, including bamboo, oak, ficus, magnolia, teak, and jackfruit.
However, it wasn’t an easy task as Moirangthem had to face a lot of resistance from local firewood collectors and hunters. With time and huge efforts to educate people on the disadvantages of cutting trees, he managed to complete his mission.
According to NDTV, Moirangthem’s efforts have been appreciated by many, including Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Kereilhouvi Angami who said:
“We appreciate his efforts. We welcome all those who protect the environment and are engaged in reforestation. We would encourage others also to take part in protection, revival, and reforestation.”
Earlier this year, a nine-year-old girl from Manipur, Valentina Elangbam, made headlines after she was appointed the first Green Ambassador of Manipur by N Biren Singh, Chief Minister, Manipur. A video had surfaced which showed her crying after two trees that she had planted and nurtured for years were cut.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)