Kids’ drive against fairy lights on trees a success

Many shops in Indiranagar are responding to their appeal and removing decorative lamps draped on trees

A few children of Indiranagar went out with appeal letters to get fairy lights removed.

In areas such as Indiranagar and Koramangala, many stores deck up trees with fairy lights to attract customers.

A group of children from Indiranagar is now campaigning against the practice, and explaining to shop owners how the lights affect tree health.

Interact Club, Indiranagar, described as a youth community service club, handed out appeals to retail outlets on 100 Ft Road last week. They will be going back for a follow-up this week.

The letter speaks about how fairy lights are bad and urges shops to remove them in the interest of the trees. The nails used to hang lights damage the bark, and unnatural light messes with the biocycle.

Twelfth grader, Anika Gururaj is the president of, Interact Club of Indiranagar, and the one who took the campaign ahead. She says the fairy lights give additional stress to trees, which are already exposed to smoke and pollution. “We wanted to make sure that brands were aware of how environmentally damaging they are” she says.

Most shop owners turned off the lights immediately, while others wanted to check with their management.

“We plan to go back this weekend to check with shops who haven’t taken off the lights yet. We will talk to them and if nothing comes of it, address them through social media,” she says.

Anika hopes the campaign will catch on. “The other alarming thing is trees being felled suddenly. Citizens need to be more watchful,” she says.

Hursh R Pai, an eighth-grader with St Joseph’s Boys’ High School, says another concern is cables hung on trees. “They could electrocute the tree or even start a fire,” he says.
Open places act

Disfigurement of trees (which are public property) can be penalised under the Karnataka Open Places

(Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981.

“Fairy lights are unnatural and affect the biodiversity around the tree. They generate heat, and nails hammered into the bark can cause infections.When wrapped around trees, fairy lights even stunt growth.”

- Vijay Nishanth, Conservationist

Why they are bad

They affect a tree’s biological cycle.

They are an electrical safety hazard.

Nails cause bark infection.

They stunt tree growth.

Metrolife article helped create awareness

Sonalee Panda, tree lover and resident of Defence Colony, Indiranagar, encouraged children to take up the campaign.

She was walking by a line of shops a year ago when she saw fairy lights “choking the trees”.

A Metrolife article titled ‘Fairy lights, posters on trees, but officials don’t care, (July 18, 2018) had highlighted the problem. This helped Sonalee create awareness among residents.

“I asked (conservationist) Vijay Nishanth about fairy lights on trees and he sent me this article. It led to discussions and helped create awareness,” she says.

When she approached a few brands, they responded positively and took off the lights. She observes that bigger brands are more aware of social media noise, but standalone stores do not bother much.

“There have also been times when brands have responded with messages apologising for the fairy lights and confirming they have taken them off,” she says. Involving children was a good idea as they are more energetic and have unique ideas to take the campaign forward, she says. “We hope to spread the message to other places too,” she says.

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