Renounce Plastic,Save Environment :Sudhir Rout, The Green Man of Odisha

Renounce Plastic, Save Environment:Sudhir Rout, The Green Man of Odisha
  •  By Shantanu Kumar Rana

Berhampur: Sudhir Rout,the greenman of Odisha,an educationist, is travelling every nook and cranny of the silk city, pedaling the narrative that “human beings can only survive if the environment sustains them. Everyone, including insects, has the right to live on this earth. Hence, humans have a greater role in protecting the environment.”.

Born in a poor family in Madhabandha village under Chikiti block of Ganjam district and a physically challenged person, Rout’s determination has not deterred him to proceed in his endeavour.  As a teacher, many of his disciples are placed in and outside the country with successful career options.   Rout in his late sixties has taken environment protection as a movement with activities spreading across the state.

Sudhir Rout, The Green Man of Odisha

He is spreading awareness about the disadvantages of single-use plastic and its prohibition. Earlier in the past, he requested the forest department to afforest a 25-acre barren patch of land in his own village. But the department turned down the proposal, stating that the land is not fertile enough for growing any kind of plant.  However, he was not disheartened.  He, with his own effort, successfully managed to grow trees like Banyan, Neem sandalwood, Karanj (Pongamia pinnata), sandalwood, and other varieties on the said parcel of land and brought greenery to the place.

His environment protection movement took a significant turn in 2016 when he appealed to the then additional secretary of the forest and environment department of the government of India during his Berhampur tour to stop cutting trees for road widening work on the Chikiti to Sorada road. Almost 4000 trees were supposed to be cut down for the said purpose.  But his appeal went unheard.  He was almost shell-shocked by the felling of such a large number of trees. In the meantime, his wife suggested that he plant trees on bald patches on hillocks. He took it as a challenge and started afforesting the bald hillocks with seed balls with the help of his team of volunteers.

During a three-year span from 2019–23, Rout has successfully planted trees on 13 bald hillocks in the district by dispersing nearly 1.5 lakh seed balls through machines, bringing vegetation to the region. Rout revealed that seed ball machines have been provided free of charge by former IAS officers Prasanna Das and Patanajali Jha. Prioritizing village forest, Rout has successfully completed afforestation on a five-acre graveyard in Medinipur village under Kukudakhandi block in Ganjam district.  For all his outstanding efforts in environmental protection and advocacy initiatives, Google has termed him the ‘Green Man’ of Odisha.