Dwarka, of late, has been witnessing massive plantation drives organised by community members, social organisations and the civic authorities like DDA and South Delhi Municipal Corporation. But were one to take a closer look, one would find that in many places the plantations have been done without taking aspects like sapling’s species, spatial concerns and the aesthetics of the area into consideration. Many recently planted saplings can be seen in spaces which are narrow and small. The saplings have been planted with small gaps between each other with no consideration for factors like growth with time. Rakesh Sharma, an environment lover, said, “Some of the peepal trees have been planted along the Master Plan Road Number 201 at gaps of five feet from each other and the other trees. Just think what would happen once the peepal trees have grown 10-20 years down the line.”
Even in the parks the saplings are being planted in a seemingly blind fashion. A cursory look at the plantations in some of the parks will tell you that no pattern is being followed and that some of this plantation is actually killing the recreational space of the park while also affecting the aesthetic look of the parks. According to community members, such plantations have not only been done by individuals but by DDA and SDMC in many places. Recently a plantation drive was carried out in a park under Municipal Corporation in Sector 14 wherein Ashoka trees were planted parallel to the hedges. The gap in the two lines is not uniform; being thin in some places while wide at others. “One can easily see how that portion of land has become useless now,” said OP Singh, a resident of Radhika Apartments, Sector 14.
In Sector 11, the members of the community had undertaken a plantation drive around three years ago wherein the plantation was done in the middle of a recreational play area space. Many trees have grown up in the area now giving it a look akin to a forest cover. The trees are properly protected by cemented tree guards showing that the activity was done under the aegis of DDA. The plantation tells the story of the unscientific and unplanned manner in which the activity was carried out. “Now neither can these trees be cut or transplanted nor can anyone use this space,” said Puja Malhotra, a resident of Sector 11.
Dwarka’s environmental activists shared their views and suggestions on the subject with City Spidey. A Dwarka environmental activist, Diwan Singh said, “Certain things that can be seen during plantations in Dwarka need correction. Firstly, trees belonging to a single species are often seen being planted in a grove or in a row. This is bad for the ecology. Diverse species should be planted next to each other. Very often DDA plants only the Pilkhan species. Some parks are inundated with this single species of Pilkhan. Secondly, often the tree saplings are planted very close to each other ignoring the space these saplings would need when they grow. For instance, Peepal tree saplings should be planted at least 20 feet away from each other. But at times it is seen that even these are planted as close as 5 to 10 feet from each other in Dwarka.”
For plantation Diwan suggested, “When tree saplings are planted little care is taken to ensure that these trees don't catch fire during the dry season. Often the grass in an area catches fire and the tree saplings in that area are burnt along with it. So whenever trees are planted in a cluster or in a big area fire lines must be created so that fire don't spread.”
An environment lover working on plants and trees in the area said, “Tree plantation activities are presently going on heavily in Dwarka. However, the planters need to understand the fact that the distance between two trees needs to be ten feet each minimum. This is in order to allow the newly planted sapling to grow steadily and straight upwards to form an independent canopy of itself. It should also be ensured that the planting ground is firm in its soil composition to lend sustainability to the plant.”