‘Technology is the future’ is an adage that will never go out of fashion. Living up to this mantra is Pune’s Ranjit Disle, a zilla parishad (ZP) teacher, who has managed to take technology to the environmental level in a quirky way.
Disle devised a technology that makes use of sensor-based quick response (QR) code to send mobile alerts to local residents whenever a tree is illegally cut in their vicinity.
The initiative was taken up in the Akumbhe village of Madha taluka. This has resulted in an increase in the greenery from 26% to 33% in the span of six years.
Disle was awarded by the National Geographic Society for his brainchild with the National Geographic Innovative Educator award. The award comprises of an ‘Explorer’ fellowship, a memento and a certificate. The award is presented to educators who work towards environmental conservation awareness among school students. 90 teachers across 28 countries in the world were feted with this award, this year.
Talking about the technological aspect, Disle said, “Every tree in the village has been labelled with a QR code. The sensors, which are chip-like, are embedded anywhere in the tree. Whenever anyone tries to cut a tree, a red alert message is sent to the cellphones of local residents. The person who tries to cut a tree is made to donate and plant five saplings within the village limits. Over a period of six years, the green cover of the village has improved.”
Some of Disle’s students have given him a helping hand in this initiative.
“I implemented this project with the help of students from the ZP school. The children prepared an environment report card for the village and identified the areas where it could become more environment-friendly,” he said.
A census of the trees was taken which also noted the total area of the village. The information was put together on the basis of the number of two- and four-wheelers. The data was collected by students.
About 546 trees were tagged in the process of taking the census. Every student took the responsibility of adopting and maintaining 10 trees each.
Village sarpanch Sanjay Patole said, “Due to this innovative technology, there has been a drastic fall in the number of trees felled illegally. In fact, villagers are now planting trees voluntarily as there is increased awareness.”
This is not the first time Disle has advocated usage of QR technology. He had earlier applied the QR code technology for the Balbharti textbooks. All the chapters of the Class X Balbharati textbooks were converted into an audio-visual format and then given a unique QR code. The students could avail the chapters by scanning the QR code on the cellphone. The AV version of the chapter would then appear on the YouTube. The initiative was adopted from this year onwards for all Balbharati textbooks.