Dwarka: The damage to this planet is not news anymore. It is not climate change anymore, it's a crisis. While humans go about plundering the Earth's natural resources to make their own ends meet, the planet suffers in more ways than even identified.
There are so many of our activities which contribute to the bigger problem. According to a public notice issued by the Department of Forests and Wildlife on October 8, 2015, "Concretisation around trees not only damages the trees, but it is also an offence under Section 8 of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, and will also amount to a violation of Hon'ble NGT orders. Also, an area of 1 meter should be de-concretised around the base of the tree while constructing the pavement or roads to facilitate the percolation of water to the roads said by the Department of Forests and Wildlife of the National Capital Territory of Delhi."
But has this notice really changed anything or put a stop to such activities? One can only wonder. Reportedly, a tree in Dwarka's Sector 6 fell on May 21 due to concretisation. One of the tenants of Vande Mataram Apartments in Sector 6 said, "The Banyan tree fell because of gusty winds during the night. It wasn't deep-rooted as it seemed because it was cemented 360 degrees in the ground leaving less space for its root to grow. The tree is said to be over 50 years old. It was evergreen. Around 15-16 (small and big) trees are in the same situation. The next morning after this incident, horticulture officers came to prune and cut it. We were able to save the tree from getting completely demolished and requested it to be given a chance to grow again. The stump is being watered daily for it to not lose its life force and become completely dry."
"We are thankful that one NGO and a handful of people came forward to help us. We have contacted the departments who look after such incidents but due to the ongoing pandemic, things are not unfolding at the right pace and every day that passes becomes one day away from saving the tree. We are now stuck in getting equipment to get the tree upright (earthmover and crane). The concerned departments are not well-equipped with the required resources for such situations," he said.
He also added that from the last 2-3 days, they are trying to uplift the tree which is not happening since they require bigger cranes. The cost is high so they are trying to get funds from the society members.
Madhukar Varshney, founder of Rise Foundation, who is also helping the fallen tree to be restored said, "Trees are the main source of oxygen and important to maintain the balance in the environment. This tree in Vandematram Apartments fell due to concretisation, where the guidelines of NGT were ignored by the authorities. Now, we want the tree to be restored at the same location. There are many more trees in society that need immediate attention. It is due to concretisation, ignorance from the society's RWA and the authorities."
While explaining concretisation, Varshney said, "The cement around the base of a tree causes the tree to fall. Cement prevents water and air from reaching the roots, and it also prevents the trunk from expanding wider. The roots become weak and get damaged, resulting in the tree losing its balance and eventually falling. During monsoon season, the wood of the trees expands due to moisture. But the cement prevents the trunk from expanding, and thus the tree is stressed and choked/strangled. This causes the tree to become weak very quickly and also results in the death of the standing trees. If there was any digging work done near the tree, some roots may have gotten cut, which later caused the tree to fall."