The green umbrella

The green umbrella

Citizen activism

The green umbrella

Gone are the days when one can see pavements lined with trees. With the depleting tree cover becoming a concern, the BBMP is reaching out to different wards to choose their own volunteers who will work hand in hand with them.

Arun Nandavar, a nature enthusiast and a resident of Hebbal, says that the awareness about the variety of trees in specific areas and how to maintain them should be provided through training programmes by the BBMP. “Just like traffic wardens are trained by the traffic police, these volunteers should also be empowered with information,” he says.

The volunteers, who will encourage other residents to take up initiatives, should be well-informed. “They should be able to work with the BBMP with regard to the fines if required.” Arun adds, “Apart from just shrubs, canopy trees and native trees should also be  planted.” 

Sneha Nandihal, a member of ‘I Change Indira Nagar’, points out that trees in every area be mapped so that there is documentation about the species and the kinds of trees in an area. “There are trees which have been around for 30 to 40 years and which might be at the end of their lifespan. Planting trees in place of the ones which might need to be uprooted is thinking ahead. Tar or concrete shouldn’t be used around these trees,” she says.

  “With commercialisation taking over, many contractors want trees to be cut down and they promise to plant many in return. These volunteers should make sure that at least one sapling is planted.” Manvel Alur, an active member of the Koramangala First Block Welfare Association, adds, “Often trees are planted at spots where they get uprooted easily. The volunteers need to be educated about the science of planting trees. In Koramangala, we do activities in association with an urban ecologist. We make sure that when a tree is cut down, another one is immediately planted,” she says.

While the BBMP has been encouraging planting of trees, management of saplings isn’t an easy task. “If the BBMP could provide good treeguards, the survival rate of the plants would be higher. In our area, we sprinkled turmeric mixed in water on termite-infested trees and it helped. It could depend from tree to tree though,” she says. She adds that the pruning of trees in the right way is the need of the hour.

According to the authorities, there are more than 10 lakh saplings that are being grown and will be distributed in the city. N Manjunath Prasad, BBMP Commissioner, informs, “Once the saplings are allotted, we encourage the localites to take ownership. These volunteers should inform us about the cutting of trees and share other feedback,” he says.

The number of volunteers will vary according to the size of the wards. “They will stay in close contact with the BBMP’s assistant engineers and officials who can levy fines or take action according to a situation. Reaching out to the masses is the only way to correct the situation,” he says.