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.