Every little thunderstorm now brings down an unusually large number of old trees in Delhi. Environmentalists say this is because the roots of trees are being weakened by government actions — and inactions.
“The trees fall because there is an imbalance between the root structure and the crown. Because of rampant concretization and construction, roots of old trees have become weak and even if a mild storm hits the city, they bend and fall,” said Prabhakar Rao, member of Kalpavriksh, an environmental action group. “The roots of the trees are destroyed because they get little space to grow and anchor the tree.”
On July 27, when thunderstorm lashed the city, over half-a-dozen trees were uprooted.
“More than three lakh trees have already been cut in the city for construction-related activities. We need to save whatever is left,” he said.
Experts blame the construction frenzy in the city.
“Concrete pavements are preventing adequate supply of water needed for the growth of roots,” said Usha Rao, Head of Botany dept, Delhi University.
Rao said construction — be it the Metro, BRT, or the flyovers and underpasses — they put pressure on the binding of the soil.
“The soil loses grip on trees as it moistens in heavy rain,” she said.