A new initiative has been launched in Naubri village in Agra (Uttar Pradesh) to prevent deaths due to lack of oxygen during the Covid-19 crisis. It highlights the importance of oxygen produced while sitting under a peepal tree here. The people living in the village are not only realising the significance of the tree to protect themselves from Covid-19 infection but are also joining yoga and meditation classes in the morning.
The villagers believe that people suffering from respiratory diseases get relief by sitting under the peepal tree as the oxygen level is improved, it is believed.
Mahipal Yadav, the husband of Snehlata who is the newly elected head of this village with a population of nearly 3,000 people, said, “There was a lot of oxygen shortage seen during the second wave of Covid-19. A man Vishnu and a woman Renu residing in our village died due to the pandemic. There are a large number of peepal trees in the vicinity of our village so we have decided that we would all sit under them and perform yoga in the morning. There is an embankment nearby where the villagers perform yoga daily following social distancing norms. A two-hour class is held similar to a Gurukul here. Due to these physical classes, the oxygen level of a boy in our village has returned to normal.”
Yadav said the local villagers spend their time here from morning till afternoon but no one sleeps under the tree at night. “We have decided that this time during the rainy season, 500 plants will be grown in the entire area.”
Raju, a resident of the village, said, “I had trouble breathing a week ago and my oxygen level had reached 88. After facing breathing problems I took refuge under the peepal tree due to which my oxygen level has become normal after sitting here for 4-5 hours. I got knowledge about yoga and tree saplings after sitting under the tree. Other village residents — Vinod and Sonu — faced similar respiratory problems. They began sitting under the tree and are fully fit now.”
Venkatesh Dutta, professor of environmental science at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Central University, Lucknow, said, “The oxygen released from the peepal tree does not necessarily remain there. It spreads to nearby areas. For this purpose a lot of trees need to be planted. The density of the trees should be such that oxygen remains concentrated at one place. There is 21 per cent oxygen in the air. If one knows the process of breathing he/she can control the breath by staying anywhere. I am not refuting the fact that the oxygen level increases under the peepal tree. Oxygen is present more in the open and under the tree.”
He said that apart from peepal, Banyan, Pakad, Sita Ashoka trees also produce oxygen. If we look at Uttar Pradesh, 5 per cent of forests are left in the Gomti basin. Similarly, 5.5 per cent forests remain in the Yamuna river basin. Leaving Lakhimpur, Pilibhit, Shajahanpur and Gonda, natural forests are nowhere left to be seen.
Vijay Seth, Vivekananda Hospital’s Ayurveda doctor says, “There are high oxygen levels during the day while sitting under the peepal tree. Peepal trees’s leaf, fruit, root bark all have great medicinal values. But they should not be used without consulting a doctor. It cures cough, bile and talking defects. It releases a lot of oxygen during morning. It also protects from ultraviolet rays coming from the sun.”