Bengaluru: Why are we letting dead trees kill people?

The BBMP must audit and remove dead, decayed and old trees.

Bengaluru: The snapping of a tree branch that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old has exposed the BBMP's gross negligence towards dead and weak trees across the city. With the pre-monsoon showers come gusty winds, making older and weak specimens highly prone to being uprooted. The BBMP must audit and remove dead, decayed and old trees.

Noted environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy provided a set of recommendations. He told Deccan Chronicle that trees in the city have been subjected to all sorts of torture and the officials are apathetic in general. “The indiscriminate and unscientific cutting of roots and branches and failing to provide timely surgery to these trees is becoming dangerous when they fall,” he explains.

Unlike forests, the urban ecosystem requires careful management and maintenance, especially in areas that see high movement of vehicles and pedestrians.

A periodic inspection of trees, especially before the pre-monsoon, can help avoid fatal falls. “Scientific branch pruning must be done to remove dying and dead branches. The reason branches die at all is unscientific pruning, infected trees and green cover not tended to properly. Every tree needs a minor surgery after being pruned or cut. Applying anti-fungal solution keeps branches strong and prevents them from falling. When this is not done, the branch loses immunity and becomes hollow before it falls," he says. Mr Reddy prunes trees at Lalbagh and Cubbon Park, immediately applying anti-fungal solution after they are cut. “Some vested interests oppose pruning but it is necessary to maintain the balance. Pipe-laying agencies and Bescom inflict injuries on trees by pruning and cutting the roots,” he rued.

BBMP has failed to earmark money for tree surgery and tree maintenance. If separate funds are allocated for scientific tree maintenance fatal accidents involving trees can be avoided and precious lives can be saved in the city, he adds.

Akshay Heblikar, a BBMP tree committee member, said there has been a delay in pruning the trees but it will be taken up before the onset of premonsoon. He suggested that dead and decayed branches be chopped or pruned. Further, the BBMP must pick trees like pongemia, neem and flowing trees which do not grow too huge.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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