Monday, June 28, 2010

Infra projects choking trees to death

Infra projects choking trees to death
Sandeep Moudgal and Subhash Chandra N S, June 27,Bangalore:

With no access to water and space for roots, trees are falling like flies in Bangalore

Even as the widening of roads and the metro are eroding the City’s arboreal wealth, trees are keeling over without the chain saws slaughtering them, with the infrastructure projects virtually choking them to death.

With concrete slabs covering the pavements, wider roads encroaching on the uncovered setback area running alongside the roads, there is no space for trees to absorb rain water, weakening roots and leading to tree fall even during mild rain storms.
According to BBMP statistics, tree fall over the past three years has increased by over 68 per cent. Nearly 1,100 trees and branches have been lost in the past six months due to nature’s wrath. Environmentalist M Sunil Kumar attributes the tree falls in its entirety across the City to the relentless digging of roads and footpaths by civic agencies. During digging the roots of the trees are cut, rendering the base unstable.

Part of the tree fall, he said, were due to bad pruning practices of civic authorities. Due to the imbalance in the crown of the tree and more weight on one side, the trees are pushed to the edge, causing them to fall during winds accompanying heavy rains.

Increase in high rises
Ornithologist M B Krishna believes that the increasing number of high rises in the City have also contributed to the tree fall in the City.
“The large number of high rises that have come up in the City hamper air flows closer to ground level, leading to wind turbulence that uproot trees,” Krishna said.
Dr Nandini, Professor and Head of the Department for Environment Sciences at Bangalore University agrees.

She says the depleting tree cover coupled with the inconsistent rain in the City is leading to soil erosion and washing away the top of soil which in turn will weaken the trees to be planted.

Admitting that the massive infrastructure projects in the City is hampering the growth of trees in the City, Palike officials in BBMP Environment department are nonetheless optimistic about increasing the tree cover in the City.

Innovative ways
“We are looking at many innovative ways to increase the tree cover in the City. Currently, the Engineering division has started providing us with percolation points around trees where concrete footpaths have been built, while in other areas where the job has already been completed we are drilling holes to open the soil,” says BBMP Conservator of Forests, N L Shanthakumar.
DH News Service

Year trees uprooted Branches fallen
2007-08 150 220
2008-09 175 250
2009-10 200 275
2010-11 450 700


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