Dwarka: A few days back, on May 23, 2022, the national capital woke up to morning showers coupled with a thunderstorm. While that rain served as a respite from the regular heatwaves in Delhi, it also brought down with itself several trees in the sub-city of Dwarka. However, not all the blame lies on the rain and the storm.
The rain was sudden and unexpected but the root causes of what brought down these trees are various and go down deeper.
According to the experts, along with speedy winds, there were other factors as well that led to the uprooting of numerous trees across Dwarka. They say that improper planning of planting the trees and lack of proper care also contributed to the falling of the trees. The experts are also of the view that majorly the trees which were vulnerable to the environment of Dwarka fell prey to the storm, especially the Sheesham trees.
Diwan Singh, an environment activist from Delhi actively working towards environment conservation, while talking about the matter, says, “Most of the uprooted trees were found inflicted by termites and they are mostly Sheesham Trees. It was the wrong choice of plantation in the area as Sheesham cannot survive in this kind of soil and in the climate of Dwarka. There are worms in the soil and also termites which make such trees weak and finally lead to their death. This makes such trees more prone to falling even in the slow wind."
"In Dwarka, there are thousands of termite-affected trees which did fall in the last thunderstorm or may fall. On the other hand, the Ficus species such as Baniyan, Peepal, Pilkhan, and Neem among others were found least affected by thunderstorms because of their sustainability in the climate of the area. These species are also not inflicted with parasites.”
Experts also say that the trees which were either planted in the wrong place or were closed at the roots by concrete were also among the worst affected. Such trees, despite they were well grown, fell because they were not planted at a spot where their roots could go deeper and the stems could grow in proper shape.
Madhukar Varshney, an environment activist from Sector 3 Dwarka says, “On observing the scene closely, I can say that the trees which were planted on the soft ground, corners of the pedestrian pathways, at the brim of the drains are among the worst affected in such storms. This has been my observation every year.”
An environment activist and resident of Sector 16B, Ramesh Mumukshu, while talking to CitySpidey, recalled the devastating effect of thunderstorms on trees in 2014 in Delhi. He talks about the initiatives taken by the administration after that incident. He said, “Delhi High Court has asked for an undertaking in writing from all the civic agencies that space around trees should be concrete-free. Earlier, National Green Tribunal also issued notice to 14 authorities directing them to remove all boards, nails, and advertisements from the trees and to de-concretise them. The Delhi High Court in 2007 and 2010 had also issued a similar notice to follow the urban greening guidelines. According to Urban greening guidelines 2014, during the execution of civic work, tree roots should be protected and topsoil should be preserved. Still, violation of norms is being done and this is resulting in making the trees weaker and causing their fall. This was proved by the storm in Dwarka in past and also the day before yesterday .”