Monday, March 24, 2008

Mere talk can’t save trees; can even kill them

A Bangalore Mirror story (March 24) speaks of a spurious debate among Bangalore tree enthusiasts that failed to save trees that came under the axe of road-wideners. The debate pertained to the feasibility of transplanting grown-up trees. A leading IT company offered to pick up the transplant tab for the threatened trees on Bellary Rd., Bangalore. As it turned out, the trees got axed while the eco-wise guys were engaged in a discussion on whether or not transplanting a 20-40 or 100 year old was a worthwhile exercise.

Someone from the company that made the offer is quoted as saying, when it comes to saving tress Bangaloreans keep talking but do little or nothing. Doesn’t this apply to us, in Mysore, as well? One of our young tree lovers asked me the other day, FORT-Mysore blog is coming up well but when do we get to see some action. I had no immediate answer.

As for tree-transplant, apart from needing big money, it works only in 60 percent cases, they say. It doesn’t take much debating to realize that tree-transplant, at Rs.90,000 per tree, is clearly not an option for us in India, unless we are talking about saving an odd celebrity tree with heritage value.

In most cases where a tree has to go for legitimate reasons, a more feasible option would be to evolve a replacement ratio – planting so many new saplings to compensate for each tree that is sacrificed. The number would be in proportion to the age of the axed tree. The company that offered transplant can be persuaded to plant new saplings along the widened road or some place else in the city.

The Bangalore Mirror gives some insight on our official mindset. A retired forest officer S G Neginhal, who had in his days planted trees all over the city,is quoted as saying that officials in BDA, the Metro or the city corporation “don’t apply their minds; they talk of concrete and metal; and it’s tough to convince them”.

Leo Saldanha of the Environmental Support Group: “The forest dept. isn’t fighting hard enough to protect trees….the tree officer has admitted that he is under severe pressure from officials above”.

1 comment:

Ashwin said...

"Mere talk can't save trees.."
I've also had quite a few experiences with this type of talk. I even know of some organizations which are formed to create "awareness". Unfortunately, the awareness never translates to action.
Another disturbing thing I sometimes see in the city is "awareness boards". These boards in various parts of the city say "Plant trees". The irony is that, atleast 5 or 10 trees could have been planted at the same cost.