Monday, May 29, 2006

Where have all the trees gone?

Where have all the trees gone?

The Hindu

Many `gardens' in Bangalore only remain in the name of the locality

# Avenue Road was once lined with palm trees and Bull Temple Road was surrounded by coconut groves
# Trees once common along the roads are disappearing in many neighbourhoods

Bangalore: The city is no longer a "garden city" that it was known as until recently. Avenue Road in the central district is an example.

Many roads and localities do still retain their names given after the vegetation abounding there. Some of that greenery still, fortunately for us, remains. Sampige Road and Margosa Road in Malleswaram are examples.

It took active media campaigns during the late 1980s through 1990s to save the trees along those roads.

Then you have curious names such as Coconut Avenue, Primrose Road and Rose Garden. Some are still in tree-shaded suburbs.

Among plants and tanks that have almost disappeared from memory are Sampangi Tank and the road named after it, now the location of a stadium and partly a congested neighbourhood.

City historians who traced road and locality names tell us that Avenue Road was once lined with palm trees and Bull Temple Road was surrounded by coconut groves.

They have trees of other species now, mostly on the temple grounds and in private properties. Nobody builds flyovers and underpasses across temples or private gardens.

We also have any number of "gardens" such as Wilson Garden and "thotas" such as Marappa Thota and Tulasi Thota and several others, now almost swamped by the buildings around them. Kumara Park and Palace Orchards still retain their greenery, perhaps because the city's elite live there.

As to the Rose Garden near a popular place of worship near Austin Town, even the local people are a bit puzzled by its name.

According to environmental activists such as former Secretary for Environment A.N. Yellappa Reddy, trees such as sampige, gulmohar and jacaranda, once common along the roads in the city, have almost disappeared in many neighbourhoods.

Those felled for widening roads or to build flyovers need to be replaced fast, he says.

Ground level ozone may be depleted, in addition to oxygen, because of disappearing greenery.

This apart the city's aesthetic appeal is also suffering. All this means the ill effects of environmental pollution may be felt even more harshly.


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