40 Years Ago A Young Man Started Planting A Tree Every Day On The Largest River Island in the World

Largest River Island in the World

The largest river island in the world, Majuli, may disappear. Over the last 70 years, Majuli has contracted by more than half and there is fear it will be submerged in the next 20 years. The island is under continuous threat due to the great soil erosion on its banks. The reason for this is thought to be the huge embankments made in towns up the Brahmaputra river to defend them during the monsoon season which redirect the destructive fury of the river to the islet. Since 1991, over 35 villages have been washed away. And while Indian authorities are trying to figure out how to save the island, its life may have even been smaller if it wasn’t for one local environmental activist.

In 1979, Jadav Payeng, then 16, found a large number of snakes that had died due to extreme heat after floods wiped them onto the tree-less sandbar. Then and there, Jadav made it his life’s purpose to save Majuli from erosion by setting trees. Working every day, he has planted 550 hectares of forest – larger than Central Park in New York City (340 hectares). That forest is now home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, and even a herd of over 100 elephants visit the island every year.

adav Payeng lives on the biggest river island in the world, Majuli

Image credits: Jitu Kalita

The island, however, is under constant threat due to the extensive soil erosion on its banks

Image credits: 101 India

Over the last 70 years, Majuli has shrunk by more than half and there are concerns it will be submerged in the next 20 years

But its life may have even been shorter if it wasn’t for Jadav

Image credits: William D McMaster

Everything started in 1979 when he was only 16 years old

Image credits: Theforestmanofindia

He encountered a large number of snakes that had died due to excessive heat after floods washed them onto the tree-less sandbar

Image credits: William D McMaster

There and then, Jadav made it his life’s mission to save Majuli from erosion by planting trees

Image credits: bijitdutta

And he has been doing it every day for the last 39 years

Image credits: bijitdutta

He has planted 550 hectares of forest – larger than Central Park in New York City (340 hectares)

Image credits: bijitdutta

And it has become home to many animals

Image credits: 101 India

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