Sustainable-Living

Do We Care for Trees?

If you are in India, do one thing today – go to any street (with a few trees still left in them) and look closer at the trees and the area around them.

Recently, we went to a tree walk conducted by Nizhal at Nandanam, near the area where O.T. Ravindran, a plant artist and a tree conservator, lived. Click the above link to read about the great person who lived amidst us, whose paintings were brought out as postal stamps, but we are unaware!

During the tree walk, the organizers showed us how we are harming trees without even thinking twice.

  • Most of the trees on the road had advertisement planks/banners on their trunks fixed using deep nails. The number of such nails on a tree was appalling. It seems these nails affect the trees.
  • People had put bricks, stones, dust, etc. all around trees. This prevents water seepage and inhibits the well being of the tree.
  • People had cut huge branches of trees to accommodate buildings, etc. The issue is, these open portions of cut branches will lose moisture faster and is bad for the tree.
  • The open cage enclosure that was in place when the tree sapling was planted was never removed and in one tree we found it around a huge trunk, inhibiting the growth.
  • In front of one house, a solid cement pathway was built all around a tree. But they said this is better than cutting off the tree entirely as is practiced by many of our citizens!
  • Lights were wound around a tree in front of a shop to attract customers. These lights disturb the sleeping pattern of the birds on them which will eventually leave the tree. The heat generated by the lights is bad for the tree.

Tree-abuse is more common and more prevalent than we might think. We observed the above cases in just one street – imagine what we are doing to trees across the city and across the nation! It seems Nizhal’s volunteers go around the city on Sundays and holidays to remove the nails, banners, etc. put on trees.

I feel we should be more caring towards the trees around us – the first step would be to recognize the ways in which we are abusing them.

Destination Infinity

26 Comments

  • Rajlakshmi

    You have raised very valid issues. People go on planting sapling mission, but what after that. It’s terrible to read about cities like Bangalore which was once the Garden city of India.

    • Rajesh K

      I feel, Bangalore is one of the better cities as far as tree planting and maintenance is concerned. I feel citizens there are at least conscious that a green cover is important. Of course, trees are being cut everywhere and we don’t seem to even bother.

      Destination Infinity

  • SG

    People do not plant or care for trees nowadays. No tree No rain. I recently visited Seattle. Will write a post on this subject soon.

    • Rajesh K

      When it comes to collective responsibility, people try to transfer the burden to others. Maybe that’s what is happening with tree plantation!

      Destination Infinity

    • Rajesh K

      Yes. Trees need watering only until the roots grow and are able to take water from the ground. Even that ppl. don’t do, sometimes.

      Destination Infinity

  • Sandhya Kumar

    I too have noticed people hanging placards on trees with nails. Lights …what you say is true. These new abuses coming up here. They won’t pour even a mug of water to the trees but use it for their benefit as much as possible.

  • Nandhini Chandrasekaran

    That’s an eye opener initiative by nizhal. I had been once to their tree walk too. All of us are of course too busy to think about tree abuse. Let’s hope to get people more thoughts and action about this.

  • Manogna

    Hmm, this post reminds me of an incident. During my college days, when it was Diwali, kids from our apartment spread the 10,000 wala on the main road and wrapped the other end around a thin tall tree for fun. The fire from the 10,000 wala completely killed the tree! Every green leaf was burnt and the tree was gone in a jiffy! That was a thoughtless thing to do and I am sure, people continue to do stuff like that , without even thinking twice!

    • Rajesh K

      Kids don’t always know what they are doing, but when the adults, who ought to guide them, also join in the “fun” then things are quite bad!

      Destination Infinity

  • Meera

    Seriously, this is a much needed activity. Tree walking, quite an interesting and informative thing and yet sad to see the trees are getting abused. A whiplash to many. Well written, Rajesh.

  • Jeevan

    Building cement pathways around the trees may prevent cutting off trees, but sooner or later weaken the trees to fall during even mild storms and rain. More than planting a tree maintain its growth and stability is much important. It really makes me feel sad to see number of trees cut or uprooted to widen roads… but the highways dept. never seen to think of replanting trees to make the ride pleasant and cool.

  • Avada Kedavra

    Tree abuse is very common in India. It is so sad. They chopped so many trees in the name of flyover/metro construction in Bangalore 🙁 Atleast in US, it is much better as the govt is strict about even cutting trees in your backyard.