Fairy lights,posters on trees,but officials don't care

Fairy lights,posters on trees,but officials don't care

Lights on trees on Church street in front of Hotel Empire. DH Photos by B K Janardhan

See strings of glittering lights wound around trees? Or posters and flex boards nailed into tree trunks?

Trees are public property and damage to them can be penalised under the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981. 

Disfigurement of trees affects their growth, says S G Neginhal, pioneer of urban forestry, former IFS officer and tree enthusiast.

“It is not just a problem on the outskirts; it is common even in areas such as Indiranagar and Koramangala,” he says.

Posters nailed into trees promote PG accommodation and work from home. They also advertise neighbourhood businesses and consumer products.

“Under the bark of a tree is a cambium layer, inside which is the hard timber or pith. The cambium layer is important as minerals move up to the leaves through this and the processed food is sent back through it,” he says.

Nailing a tree can affect this layer. When holes are drilled into the trunk, the tree becomes vulnerable to insect and fungal attacks, he explains.

Decorative string lights strung around branches, especially near pubs, clubs, restaurants and eateries, affect the tree’s resting cycle.

“During the late hours, even a tree is resting and artificial light can disturb its growth. The aesthetic beauty of the tree is also affected by this,” he says.

Environmentalist and ‘tree doctor’ Vijay Nishanth says the heat around the tree increases when strings of light are wrapped around it.

“Such activity is unnatural. It affects the bio-diversity of the tree and the birds, squirrels and other beings living on the trees. Cables are also nailed and wrapped around the trees and they give rise to more heat,” he says.

Coloured paper glued to the trees is not so harmful as the bark is made of dead cells, says Vijay.

“The nails affect the tissue and expose the tree to infection, affecting its longevity,” he adds.

Project Vruksha Foundation, with which Vijay is associated, has been campaigning for four years to protect trees in Jayanagar.

“Posters can be seen on Ring Roads and near the tech parks too. Despite regular drives, people keep posting advertisements. The public needs to be more aware and vigilant,” he says.

Not a priority

M K Cholarajappa, deputy conservator of forests, BBMP, says his staff are not looking into disfigurement of trees as their priority is to clear branches and trees crashing to the ground.

“We have limited staff. The BBMP chief engineers in the eight zones are responsible for removing cables and posters on trees,” he says.

BBMP has given no permissions

BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad says that no one has the permission to wrap cables around trees or stick paper on them. 

“These are unauthorised activities and we keep doing regular drives in all eight BBMP zones to remove them. Once cases are booked, the same people do not repeat the action. But new people come into the picture. This is a tedious yet continuous drive,” he says.

See a tree disfigured?

Call BBMP Control Room 080 2222 1188. 
(DH Metrolife called and checked. The number works.)

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