Thane: The city saw maximum number of tree falls in the month of August as compared to previous years. While the number of tree falls in June-July were slightly lower, which could be because the late arrival of monsoon, informed an official from TMC.
However, the environmentalists and citizen activists highlight the lack of maintenance of existing and newly planted trees in the city.
According to the citizen activists, with the increase in the number of tree fall every year, the city has witnessed many old and rare species of trees getting uprooted in various corners of Thane.
As per the official figures provided by the Regional Disaster Management cell (RDMC) of Thane. In month of August, in the year 2018, a total of 29 tree falls were recorded and in 2019 it raised up to total 189; while this year (2020) above 90 tree fall incidents have been reported, within 15 days span of August month; highlighting the increase in the tree fall cases in the city.
This year, June and July witnessed slight decline in the total number of tree falls. "The difference in the figure was due to the late arrival of monsoon. However, the last 15 days have witnessed heavy rainfall, leading to maximum tree falls in August compared to last two years. Daily 5 to 10 tree falls or even more are during heavy downpour, in Thane," informed senior official from RDMC, Thane.
Many times it has been highlighted that the concretization is the major reason behind the tree falls in the city, the same has led to the threat for survival of the trees in the city, which has turned into unhealthy conditions and left to die slowly.
"The concretisation affects aeration process needed for trees, causing huge damage to their roots, which ultimately falls after a short period of time. This issue has been seen on large scale increasing in Thane, since last 10 years. Even after several complaints, so far no efforts have been done by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) to begin tree plantation with the process of de-concretisation in Thane city, even after court's guidelines. Therefore, the number of tree falls will keep on increasing by reducing the survival of existing rare species of trees, in Thane,” said Rohit Joshi, environmentalist and citizen activist from Thane.
Joshi also added that the tree census which is supposed to be carried after 5 years has been skipped. "The last tree census by TMC was carried in 2011, which was supposed to be followed in 2016, which has not been done. The officials claims that they have carried, but it has not disclosed yet. The next turn of the tree census is supposed to be followed in the year 2021," informed Joshi.
The activists also claimed that though the city claims that Thane constituency consists around 5 lakh tree. However, they have often failed to prove their survival due to lack of maintenance.
"Before one and a half year, TMC had purchased the tree transplantation machine worth Rs 4 crore, which standing gathering dust. As the TMC officials has failed to carry the tree transplant process properly," added Joshi.
“Though many species of trees are declining slowly from the city, but the areas like Kolshet, Naupdada, Majiwada , Kasarwadawli, of Thane are still spotted with the rare species of trees like Banyan, Peepul, Manilkara hexandra, Baobab trees, which are also on the edge of getting razed," said Kaustubh Darves, environmentalist from Thane.
“According to the tree census of TMC, the city consists of around 300 species of tree. However, out of them more than 50 percent of these species are on the verge of getting disappear, due to frequent tree falls, development and lack of maintenance of remaining species of trees. As hardly 2.000 species of Banyan tree and merely 40 to 45 trees of Baobab trees have left in the city,” added Darves.
"The concerned department and official are been instructed to carry the pruning of the trees and keep check on the dangerous trees to avoid tree falls. While, the appointed officials has also been directed to work on de-concretisation soon. As far as the transplant machine is concerned, we are utilising it, as several trees has been replanted in the Thane," said Sandeep Malvi, deputy municipal commissioner, TMC.