The green light

The green light

The dwindling green cover in Bengaluru has been a source of concern for citizens for sometime now. Trees are increasingly being uprooted for commercial purposes while many parks in the city are in a bad condition.

However, with an increased allotment for the green cover in the state budget — Rs 1,397 crore for development of BBMP parks and trees — citizens hope that the city will regain its green cover soon.

Environmentalist Leo Saldanha says that whatever be the budget, effective management of parks is a must.

“Civic amenities including parks have to be provided to the public according to The National Building Code of India. One can see proper parks in old neighbourhoods while the newer localities concentrate on just the financial aspects of land,” he adds.

Akshatha Pournami Agastya, an environmental science student, says that apart from planting saplings in the city, proper care should be taken of plants that are already there.

“One should avoid sticking or nailing posters on trees. When it comes to parks, the trees and the equipment there should be maintained well,” she says.

Many of the new parks in the city are heavily landscaped and this should change, says nature enthusiast Harini Nagendra, professor (sustainability) with Azim Premji University.

“These parks have fewer trees and more ornamental shrubs, which are extremely water-intensive. Older parks like MN Krishna Rao Park are full of trees which is the need of the hour.”

One needs to go back to the tradition of planting more fruit trees. “Trees like mango, jackfruit and tamarind should be planted. They are good for bio-diversity. Due to space constraint, the focus should be on multifunctional trees, which provide shade and food,” she says.

The focus of maintaining parks should be shifted from civil engineering to ecology, says Ulhas Anand, who holds tree walks in the city and works with ‘Eco Edu’. “Usually the funds allocated are focussed on building a big compound wall in a park. But what is needed is a broader look into the mechanism of trees and parks,” he says.

He adds that there are no arborists in the city and the BBMP should focus on treating trees effectively. “The authority should employ arborists. Trees with fungal diseases need to be treated,” he says.

The authorities believe that this year’s budget will bring about a change in the green cover of the city. N Manjunatha Prasad, BBMP commissioner, says, “The allocation for horticulture, forests and lakes in  this budget will cover the maintenance of trees and parks on a larger scale — from development of parks in the outer zone to beautification of medians and junctions in the city.”

He adds, “Proper rain harvesting mechanisms will be implemented in all parks and shredders will be installed to turn tree branches and leaves into compost. In 2016-17, around 1,17,000 saplings were planted. We intend this in a much larger scale by planting 10 lakh saplings this year.” An additional feature would be a mobile application that will list out various species of trees which the citizens can choose.

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