May 21, 2021 9:48:03 pm
Days after 812 trees were uprooted under the impact of extremely severe cyclone Tauktae, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said Friday that trees should not be planted on footpaths.
“We (BMC) are saying that native/indigenous trees should be planted. I personally feel that trees should not be planted on footpaths. There is no space for roots to breathe and grow on the (concretised) footpaths, roots are unable to anchor themselves in the ground because of which trees get uprooted,” said Pednekar.
Of the 812 trees uprooted, 70 per cent were non-native species, including Gulmohar, rain tree and royal palm, among others.
According to Maharashtra (Urban Areas), Preservation and Prevention of Tree Act, 1975, 1-metre space should be left around tree trunks.
The garden department in 2019 re-issued the circular asking the vigilance department to keep a watch on ongoing and upcoming road/footpath construction works across the city and to ensure that the rule is implemented.
“It is absolutely necessary to follow this instruction to achieve survival of trees and better maintenance of trees,” read the circular.
The National Green Tribunal has also directed that there should be 1 metre space around tree trunks for better growth to preserve and protect trees.
At least 1,454 tree branches across the city also fell due to the storm’s impact.
Pednekar said she will write to the Chief Minister to amend the Tree Authority Act to allow the BMC to trim more and bigger branches. The Tree Authority, a statutory body constituted under the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Prevention and Protection of Trees Act, 1975, was set up to sanction permissions for removing or cutting trees in Mumbai.
However, experts said a blanket rule to cut big branches will not prevent trees from falling due to high wind speed or heavy rainfall.
“As per the arboriculture technical norms, not more than 20-30 per cent of trees’ canopy should be pruned in a year. However, it varies as per the age of trees and their maintenance…The intention behind trimming/pruning trees is to balance the weight of trees and keep the structural integrity of the tree so that it doesn’t become lopsided and fall,” said Vaibhav Raje, who runs ‘Treecotech’ which provides arboriculture services.
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