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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 5:

On the occasion of World Environment Day, the participants at the 21st Raahgiri Day focussed on conservation of nature and urged every Bhubaneswarite to plant a tree to make the city a better place to live.

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Almost all major and small organisations participating at the event today emphasized to educate people on the importance of the World Environment Day (WED), 2016.

This year’s WED theme is – Go Wild for Life – and it encourages every individual to celebrate existence of all plant and wildlife species under threat and take action to help safeguard them for future generations.

The United Nations Environment Programme has also called for an international awareness and zero tolerance over the illegal wildlife trade. This can be about animals or plants that are threatened within a local area as well as at the national or global level as a systemic local extinction may ultimately lead to a global extinction.

While city-based organisation Trees for Tomorrow distributed saplings to the dignitaries on stage and also to the general public with a message to remain alert on the concept of 100 percent survival of the saplings planted though proper follow-up and post-plantation care other organisations like Bakul Foundation, Marwari Yuva Manch its women wing, Sahaj Krushi and PECUC also distributed saplings and organised events to educate the public and especially young children and students on the importance of plantation.

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Elaborating state government’s initiatives towards conservation of nature, Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha announced that while the state government has an ambitious plan for the entire state to add forest cover, the Smart City Bhubaneswar will get a major focus in this year’s plan of the department.

To spread awareness among kids Aadar Foundation, Art Ya Craft and Art Godaam organised sit and draw art events today at the Raahgiri venue among school children and attracted hundreds of students from various age groups. Both the stages on the two ends of Raahgiri remained jam-packed with listeners to the beautiful songs rendered by individual singers and groups.

Speaking on the impact of environment and mental health and overall wellbeing city-based psychiatrist Dr. Pranab Mohapatra said ‘’over all mental condition and well-being has also got a link with the surrounding environment. More greenery and cool climate can make people more creative and productive as they would be less-stressed than people staying in clumsy, polluted and relatively hotter climate. Better natural lighting and sunlight has also got a role in our mental state.’’

Among others, MP Prasanna Patasani, Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda, MLA (Bhubaneswar North) Priyadarshi Mishra, Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena focused on adding more tree cover to the city’s existing greens.