Mumbai Environmentalists and nature lovers across Mumbai have objected to the chopping and hacking of trees incorrectly under the pretext of its pre-monsoon tree trimming exercise, destroying trees in the locality. Residents have even alleged that due to lockdown, the contract workers trimming trees have got a free hand in the absence of supervision of civic officials.
"This is the best time for contractors with lockdown imposed, there is no public to object, civic officials busy with the containment of coronavirus outbreak," said Zoru Bhatena, resident of Khar and an environmental activist.
Bhatena added that trees are pruned regularly for its good health but there has to be a scientific guideline for pruning, it cannot be carried out randomly. "Trees in the city are tall when ideally they should be shorter and with a good round canopy cover.
BMC's unscientific approach to chop the branches on the lower portion is to be blamed," he said adding that he gets complaints from all across the city about unscientific tree hacking in the guise of annual pre-monsoon trimming.
Many residents have approached the local civic officials, however, they said that the contractors are responsible for the trimming and civic officials are busy with coronavirus related tasks.
Environmentalists have been for years emphasising on the need for more supervision and scientific pruning keeping in mind the fact that unscientific pruning is harmful to tree health. People end up trimming around 25 to 30% of a tree, which is becoming a major threat to Mumbai's already reducing tree cover.
"The workers hired by the contractors are totally untrained, they don't even know the names of trees they are hacking. While it is important for them to know which tree a native tree and which ones is are imported (decorative) ones. On papers, they call it trimming, while in reality, they hack these trees mercilessly.
As per rule, the annual trimming work needs to be supervised by horticulturists on all wards, which is seldom done." said Dr Nilesh Baxi, environmentalist and former member of BMC tree authority