There is less than half a tree per person in Mumbai, even though more trees were counted in the city, data released by the NGO Praja Foundation showed.
The data showed there were 35.98 lakh trees in the city, against 19.17 lakh in 2008, when the last tree census was carried out. But the ratio of trees to population — or the number of trees per citizen — remained at a low 0.28.
Praja compiled the data after going through the civic body’s environment study report, which contains a ward-wise count of trees across the city. Civic officials, however, said the total number of trees could rise as the ongoing tree census is yet to be completed.
“The data we have published is according to the environment study report of the BMC, where a ward-wise count is given. After adding it up, we have come to the figure of 35.98 lakh trees. This is excluding Aarey Colony,” said Milind Mhaske from Praja.
The report said the N ward (Ghatkopar) has the most number, at 2.86 lakh trees; P North (Malad) comes second with 2.84 lakh trees. Wards B and C (Masjid, Bhindi Bazar, Kalbadevi and Marine Lines) had the fewest trees, at 7,816 and 5,756 respectively.
The BMC has been conducting the current tree census since 2014. This is the first time that it has used the global positioning system and geographical information system to count trees across the city.
The civic body has spent more than Rs2 crore for this project. So far, the census has also found around 250 new species of trees in the city.
According to the BMC, there are 29 lakh trees in the city, excluding Aarey Colony. The civic officials said about 95% of the work was completed and the compilation of figures from only six wards is remaining. “We are not aware of the data given by the NGO, but so far, 29 lakh trees have been counted, and another 4.8 lakh trees are in Aarey Colony,” said a senior civic officer.
Abhijeet Chawan, a tree authority committee member, said, “I will not get into the rise in the number of trees, as the census is yet to be completed. But the BMC should take extra measures to increase the ratio, by taking strict action if transplanted trees don’t survive and also increase transplantation.”