Almost 40 Years Ago A 16-Year-Old Started Planting A Tree Every Day On A Remote Island, And Now It’s Unrecognizable

The largest river island in the world, Majuli, may disappear. 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. The island is under constant threat due to the extensive soil erosion on its banks. The reason for this is thought to be the large embankments built in towns up the Brahmaputra river to protect them during the monsoon season which redirect the devastating 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 shorter if it wasn’t for one local environmental activist.

In 1979, Jadav Payeng, then 16, encountered a large number of snakes that had died due to excessive heat after floods washed them onto the tree-less sandbar. Then and there, Jadav made it his life’s mission to save Majuli from erosion by planting trees. Working tirelessly 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 regularly visit it every year. Continue scrolling to learn more about this capeless hero.

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

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

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

Everything started in 1979 when he was only 16 years old

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

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

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

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

And it has become home to many animals

Even a herd of over 100 elephants regularly visit it every year

The reason why Majuli is shrinking has a lot to do with the large embankments up the Brahmaputra river

People built them for protection from everything the monsoon season throws at them

But the embankments redirect the devastating fury of the river to the island

To learn more about the “Forest Man of India” and his fight, watch the short documentary below




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