Close to 1,200 tree saplings have been planted by the tree department of BMC across 24 municipal wards since the month began, in a monsoon plantation drive in Mumbai.
The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) plans to plant 13,300 tree saplings till September. “Our target is to plant 50,000 saplings across Mumbai till the onset of the winter, provided we get open spaces along the roads,” said Vijay Hire, garden superintendent and tree officer, MCGM.
On the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5, a total of 531 tree saplings had been planted across seven areas in the city. The trees were of species such as Bakul, Peltophorum (Copper pod), Tabebuia (Trumpet tree), Satvin (Devil’s tree), Sita Ashok, Bottle Palm, Neem, Karanj and Deodar.
Hire added that Mumbaiites could buy their own saplings from any of the 24 wards across the city at a cost of Re1. “We have provided a number of saplings from our main nursery at Veermata Jijabai Udyan to various wards for private tree plantation drives,” he said.
Meanwhile, the tree department has also initiated a disaster control team and appointed a contractor to look after any untoward incidents such as falling of tree branches during the rains.
“Although we have utilised scientific methods to trim the branches in different areas of the city, we have put in place supervisors from the tree department with appropriate machinery to attend untoward tree felling incidents and clear the area in a span of two hours,” said Hire.
However, environmentalists have said that trees had been trimmed before the monsoon season in an unscientific manner. “I have received several complaints from people saying that trees have been mindlessly trimmed through the month of May and it is quite disturbing to see the methods used by authorities that imbalance these roadside trees,” said Rishi Agarwal, environmentalist.
According to a release from the civic body’s tree department, 23 tree felling incidents have been recorded in the past 24 hours from June 15 to June 16 morning with reports of nine, three and 11 trees felled in the city areas, western and eastern suburbs respectively, owing to rainfall.