TMC formulates policy on tree trimming
Appointing an expert to oversee scientific trimming of trees without harming them, ensuring there are no nests or flowers on branches being pruned, and effective disposal of the green waste — these are some of the conditions laid down by the Thane civic body’s policy on scientific trimming and pruning of trees. The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC)’s tree authority committee formulated this policy, based on National Green Tribunal norms, after the Supreme Court (SC) directed the civic body to do so in September.
According to the tree authority committee, the suggestions of the panel set up to study the reason for increase in tree collapse incidents will also be implemented in the future.
In September, the SC had directed the corporation to formulate a policy on trimming and pruning of trees, while hearing a petition filed by Thane-based activist Pradeep Indulkar, who claimed that unscientific trimming is one of the reasons for the increase in tree-collapses in monsoon every year.
An official from the TMC’s tree authority committee said permission for tree-trimming will be given based on this policy. “According to the policy, an expert will be appointed to monitor the trimming work and it will be done as per their suggestion so that trees are not harmed. The trimming of trees taller than 40 feet (ft) will be done using a trimming machine or a hydraulic device so that it isn’t unbalanced,” the official said.
A member of the tree committee said that although experts are appointed for tree-trimming for TMC projects, no experts are appointed for trimming in residential societies or private properties. “Most societies get the trimming done by their sanitation staff, who have no knowledge of trimming, damaging the trees. The policy will now ensure that the private entities follow the scientific trimming process.”
The policy also states that the branches of trees which are more than 40-ft tall, apart from palm and coconut trees, be trimmed before monsoon to avoid collapses.
The trees should be sprayed with insecticides and treated medically to prevent them from dying.
The official said the policy aims at ensuring trimming in a way that does not lead to the death of trees. “The main trunk of the tree should not be affected while trimming. The person should ensure that there are no nests or dwellings of any birds or animals on the branches which are trimmed. Care should also be taken to ensure the branch has no flowers or fruits on it,” he said.
The contractor trimming the trees should also send photographs of the trees trimmed within seven days to the tree authority’s office. The policy also states that the green waste generated after trimming should be transported to the waste-to-energy plant in Kopri, and not burnt or dumped anywhere in the city.
According to the policy, the concretisation around trees is one of the primary reasons behind tree falls in the monsoon. “The concrete paver blocks, tiles or asphalt poured around the trees stops their aeration, stunting their growth. The policy states that a distance of 1ft by 1ft be maintained around all trees along the roads, public places and private properties. Tree guards should be set up to ensure the concrete or asphalt does not mix with the soil at the roots of trees. These directives are supposed to be implemented by the tree department immediately,” the policy states. Indulkar said the policy should be put up on the TMC website for people’s information.
“They [the TMC] should publicise the policy so we know if it is as per the NGT guidelines. We had expected that they will form an expert committee which will study the NGT guidelines, research papers on the issue and then formulate a policy. This does not seem to have happened as the corporation has formed its own policy.”
Meanwhile, the tree committee gave permission to cut 41 trees and transplant 299 trees for developmental projects such as road-widening and concretisation.
According to TMC’s data, 41 trees will be cut, for which 615 trees of eight to 10 feet will be planted across the city. In a similar way, 299 trees will be transplanted, for which 1,495 trees have to be planted.