More than 100 Ahmadiyya Muslim worshippers joined a team of more than 500 volunteers – including the Mayor of London – to plant 15,000 trees in Hainault.
Volunteers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) joined Sadiq Khan and Councillor Jas Athwal, in Forest Road to begin work on an “urban woodland” on Saturday (December 1).
“We want to serve humankind at every given opportunity and that is why we are here once again to do our bit in planting a large number of trees,” said Abdul Qudoos Arif, national youth leader.
He added: “We find inspiration in the teachings of Islam which promote peace, tolerance and respect for the environment and the holy prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught that planting trees is a noble act and worthy of God’s pleasure.”
He highlighted that AMYA is also part of the “charter of the forest”, an 800-year-old document which binds its signatories to help protect the nation’s forests.
The event was part of London’s biggest ever mass tree-planting weekend, which aimed to plant more than 75,000 new trees across the capital, funded by the mayor.
The project in Redbridge, which is in partnership with Trees for Cities and Vision, is funded by the council through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and the Mayor of London’s Greater London Authority Woodland Fund.
“Air quality is a big issue in London,” Mayor Khan told the Recorder, asked whether it was right to prioritise this in relation to issues such as surging crime.
“There are thousands of thousands of premature deaths on our city because of poor quality air.
“Young children in the poorest parts of London have underdeveloped lungs.”
He said that these conditions health ultimately add to the NHS’s bill.
By planting trees “city Hall is investing root and branch” in tackling the problem, he added.
Asked what type of trees were being planted, he said: “These ones are called ‘Lord of the Rings’ trees, so I’m told.”
“But they used language that I couldn’t really understand,” he joked.
This project is part of a three-year programme, with more community planting events taking place next year.
Visit treesforcities.org/get-involved for more information.