Trees fight for survival in concrete jungle

Trees fight for survival in concrete jungle

While the national capital boasts of being one of the greenest metropolitans, it lacks the will to protect the green cover. A case in point is the first spell of rains due to which many trees were uprooted across the city on Monday — that saw intermittent to heavy downpour, but the velocity of wind was not high.

Environmentalists pin the blame on rapid urbanisation and concretisation of trees.
“The rule which says 6x6 feet is to be left around a tree, is not followed. The concretisation of trees is the biggest reason why so many trees were uprooted,” said environmentalist Gopal Krishan.

“Even the ongoing construction work loosens the soil, which makes the roots of trees weak. When a piece of land is dug for putting in cable wires and drainage pipes, no attention is paid to trees,” he added.

For months the National Green Tribunal has been asking the municipal corporations, Central Public Works Department and other agencies concerned to de-concretise areas around trees that fall under their limits. But the agencies which seem busy playing the blame game, have turned a blind eye to such orders.

The forest department said roadside trees fall due to poor root system. “Sometimes rain water stands which results in loosening of soil and hence, limited root system is not able to hold the tree,” said G N Sinha, chief conservator of forests department.
Environmentalists said trees which are planted under green mission schemes are more prone to getting uprooted.

“As the roots of trees planted under such schemes do not go deeper, they are not well maintained. The run-off velocity of water increases due to concretisation of land, which causes uprooting of such trees,” said Rajeev Betne, Toxics Link.

“Poor drainage system is also one of the reasons which leads to stagnation of water and weakens the roots of the trees.”

Forest officials said right species of plants for the specific type of soil should be chosen.

“The correct sapling and right soil condition as well as annual canopy management are important to prevent them from falling. A good sapling taps its roots deep, which gives tree a firm grip. And pruning of trees at the right time also saves them from getting uprooted,” an official said.

Trees were uprooted in many areas across the city on Monday morning. Falling of trees was reported from at least 11 places in south Delhi, 14 in north Delhi and six areas in east Delhi.

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