Ever heard of trees choking?
Well, the way humans cant breathe when their throats are choked, similarly, trees choke when they do not get enough space to grow.
As we walk along the roads of Delhi, we can find some trees crying for help.
The concrete is killing them, it is a threat to their survival.
Trees are choking to death and their roots can’t breathe. On some footpaths or sidewalks you can see trees with concrete around the base of the trunk. This prevents the percolation of water to the roots of the tree. It also restricts the tree from growing wider and bigger into its full potential. If the water doesn’t seep in and reach the roots, it can cause lack of nutrients and minerals which leads to drying and weathering of trees and they eventually die.
Below is an example of trees which were choked in Niti Bagh by the MCD in Violation of the Hon’ble NGT order which requires minimum of 1 mtr soil space around the trees.
NDNS informed the police, the forest department as well as the MCD, and finally the trees were given more soil space in accordance with the law.
Concretisation of the soil leads to extreme depletion of ground water table and causes flooding over that concretized area during rains. When the water gets accumulated on the concrete, it leads to breeding of mosquitoes and waterborne diseases.
There should be at least 1mtr of open soil space around the tree.
Unfortunately, this story is not new. Concretisation did not happen today, yesterday or the day before. It is an old tale, with twists, turns and enigmatic implications.
Six years ago, there were people who saw those invisible tears, organisations who heard their inaudible moaning, activists who empathised with their unspoken agony. It culminated in the form of a petition in NGT (National Green Tribunal) back in 2013. But its been 6 years and still not much action has been taken.
De-concretisation has to be done manually not with any machinery. It has to be done very carefully and gradually so that the root is not hurt. When the concrete is taken away, the void needs to be filled immediately with good quality soil and manure.
Concretisation around the trees is harmful for root aeration and also prevents the percolation of water. It could immediately lead to death of trees or take upto a few years before the trees die.
It was therefore, brought to the notice of all Govt. departments under GNCTD and general public that concretisation of trees is an offence under Section 8 Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994 and will also amount to violation of Hon’ble NGTs orders.
“……we direct all the public authorities, more particularly Municipal Corporation of Delhi, DDA, DTC,
DMRC, NHAI and all Government respondents in this petition including the Director General of CPWD, the Chief Engineer, PWD, to ensure that
(i) All the sign boards, names, advertisements, any kind of boards or signage, electric wires and high tension cables or otherwise are removed from the trees forthwith.
(ii) They shall also ensure that the concrete surrounding the trees within one meter of the trees are removed forthwith and all the trees are looked after well and due precaution is taken in future so that no concrete or construction or repairing work is done at least within one meter radius of the trunk of trees…..”
The above video is a short PSA made by NDNS to help spread awareness about de-choking trees.
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About the Author:
Miss Angel Anil is a Nature Lover and Book Worm.