Green threat: Concrete ‘choking’ 2,081 trees in Mumbai
City-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), GreenLine, along with 120 students from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, carried out a survey across 19 municipal wards in Mumbai and found 2,081 trees choked with concrete and rubble at the base, without any tree basins...mumbai Updated: Jan 05, 2017 15:32 IST
Two years after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed an order directing the civic body to free all trees in the city from concrete at their base, the civic body has failed to implement the directions, a survey found.
City-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), GreenLine, along with 120 students from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, carried out a survey across 19 municipal wards in Mumbai and found 2,081 trees choked with concrete and rubble at the base, without any tree basins. The data was submitted to the superintendent of gardens and the municipal commissioner on Tuesday.
The concrete affects the development of roots and weakens the tree base, thereby compromising the anchorage of roots, while the tree does not get enough nutrients.
“In a city like Mumbai, we are all struggling for green cover and we need to take every measure possible to ensure the trees we have are looked after. The concrete base is choking the trees and there is an urgent need to free them,” said Father Savio Silveira, director, Green Line. “Citizens need to be actively involved in pushing authorities to implement court orders.”
He said 2,081 choked trees have been identified only under phase one of the survey. “Over the next few months, we will be going ward wise, identifying every tree choked owing to concretisation,” said Father Savio.
“We have taken cognisance of the survey report and directed ward officers to submit a fresh report to us regarding the number of deconcretised tree bases,” said a senior official from the garden department. “We had submitted an affidavit to NGT in 2016 that more than 50,000 trees were freed from concrete at their base.”
Environmentalists, however, rubbished the civic body’s claim. “Not more than 2,000 tree bases have been freed from concrete in Mumbai. The garden department has done a good job with areas like the Dadar-Matunga stretch and along the Sion-Trombay road,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director, Vanashakti.