Let fully-grown trees be part of widened roads

Let fully-grown trees be part of widened road's 'tree median'

Representative image.

Sustainable development has been a debatable topic over the years starting from the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit. Bengaluru, with its depleting tree cover, has also been a hotbed of development debates with its environment in sharp focus.

The Metro second phase, the highway projects, and road-widening may all see thousands of trees face the axe. Protests by environmentalists and citizen activists, project delays and climate changes are all now part of a debate now getting amplified. DH takes a closer look.

“Considering how the climate is changing, it is very vital that a metro city like Bengaluru focuses on development that co-exists with nature. When we say ‘Don’t cut trees’ it is not that we don’t want development. Actually it should go side by side,” notes Anika Eliz Baby, a BA student from St Joseph’s College.

If development is inevitable, “try to use trees innovatively at walkways or build flyovers where trees are not affected. If you are driving a bike under a tree, the temperature is much cooler compared to a road without trees. That indicates the need to grow more trees,” adds Anika.

Also Read: Shrinking green cover: A desperate tree-hug

Trees should be replanted. “And this requires close monitoring by the officials. The government should also make people more aware as many don’t really care. When trees are cut people will say ‘it is sad’ and move on.”

Yashaswini Sharma an architect from Esthétique, notes: “It is deeply disappointing that the BMRCL and other road expansion projects have proposed to axe thousands of trees in Bengaluru even as the city is reeling from the effect of highest temperature in 150 years. Adding lanes hasn’t helped in reduction of traffic density. It has, in fact, encouraged the addition of vehicles onto the roads.”

She suggests that if road widening is required at all, the fully-grown trees can be part of a tree median. “Roads with multiple lanes with no tree cover are uncomfortable for driving too. Mature trees sequester lot more carbindioxide and they hold together ecosystems. We are able to breathe because of trees,” reasons Yashaswini.

Aswin Ravikumar, who works in a financial firm and stays in HSR Layout, takes a different view.. He says, “Bengaluru traffic is hectic and we need metro to tackle it. Trees should not be an obstacle for development purposes. It is better to transplant or replant the trees.”

In the words of S N Ramajaneya, a shopkeeper from Yeshwanthpur, “There are a lot of changes in the environment. The city’s cool climate changed as half of the city lost its green cover. Places like Shivajinagar, Jayanagar and MG road lost many trees. This trend will be dangerous for the future.”

“Development at the cost of environment is not real development. Real development takes into account sustainability and places a large emphasis on the environment. Cutting of trees for road-widening and other such so-called development projects harms our ecosystem, escalating global warming,” says Indumathi S, an assistant professor at St. Joseph’s Evening College.

Born and brought up in Bengaluru, Nithin KT is today a 25-year-old based in J P Nagar. This is how he sees the change: “I have seen the sad demise of this city’s nature. There were times when people enjoyed the cold climate of the city and were willing to head outside at any time of the day. But things have drastically changed.”
The only effort at greening that Nithin noticed till date are those plants hung against the Metro pillars in a few locations. “I don’t know if people will ever relive and experience those streets of old that had huge trees with spectacular orange flowers which made city walks memorable,” he notes.

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