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NLD party 66 saplings in 318 townships celebrating Aung San Suu Kyi birthday

Aung San Suu Kyi Burma’s democracy leader,who on 19th June 2010 is her 65th birthday in detention,has now been detained for almost 15 years.National League for Democracy party young members have started planting more than 20,000 saplings today in states and divisions in honour of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s 65th birthday on June 19. In tribute to their leader, NLD Youth members plan to grow 66 saplings in each of the 318 townships across the country, except in Kayah State, which has no NLD branch offices. Burmese traditionally plant saplings on birthdays for each year of life up to their age for the coming year: thus the 66 trees for Suu Kyi’s 65th anniversary.

NLD central committee member Phyu Phyu Thin said the campaign to plant 20,998 saplings on June 19 was also a conservation awareness campaign.Members today planted the shady tree varieties, Padauk, Gangaw, Khayay, rain tree, and Bandar (Indian almond), at their offices, in monastery compounds, on personal land holdings or at pagodas in South Dagon, Hlaing Tharyar and South Okkalapa townships in Rangoon Division.

Suu Kyi will be again forced by the ruling Burmese junta to celebrate her birthday under house arrest as her current 18-month sentence for entertaining uninvited guest, US citizen John Yettaw, is scheduled to end in November.

The remainder of the sentence would be waived if she “stays at her home in discipline”, the government announced recently.NLD Pegu Township chairman Myat Hla said members would plant 66 gold mohur saplings in Pegu on June 19. Rangoon-based Forest Resource Environment and Development Association (Freda) vice-chairman U Ohn said the trees should be grown in forests, on mountains and on barren hilltops in a “sweeping manner”, so the trees’ roots can play their part in preserving topsoil.

“Growing trees is good but conservation of standing forests and trees is better,” he said. “Felling a tree and replanting a new tree … can [still] damage the environment.” “Forests absorb all [most of] the rainfall, which can make the climate comfortable. Depletion of forest leads to erosion, which can make climate change.” Freda started its tree-growing activities in 1999 and since Cyclone Nargis hit the Irrawaddy Delta its groves reportedly cover 3,000 acres (1,214 hectares). Forest covered 60 per cent of Burma’s total area of 656,577 square kilometresin year 1975,this cover was now just 41 per cent,the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation reported last month.


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