Cutting trees should be the last resort

This is with regard to the article published in your daily on 16th May 2021, ‘Old Trees along the roadside cut in NH 415’.

I most humbly would like to draw your attention towards many residents and citizens of Arunachal Pradesh, who have raised concerns to our environmental community regarding the deforestation act held by the Capital administration.

I would like to address that, although the act of deforestation was held by the authorities due to complaints registered by some residents themselves. There is no denying that in a broader context, these anthropogenic activities are going to impact our environment and the ecosystem that exists within the felled trees.

As stated by Executive Magistrate Likha Radh, the trees that were cut were more than 30 years of age and could prove fatal for human lives and their properties so it resulted in their cutting. The Forest department and the executive officer have themselves expressed grief about the act.

However, we need more responsibility and not just regrets in this time of existing environmental crisis. Felling of such ancient trees which have provided shade, shelter, oxygen, and controlled noise pollution on the roadside, should not be cut so easily as the only ultimate solution to registered complaints, an NOC of just a few registered complainants should not decide the fate of these trees and other concerned residents. We understand that it was an act of compliance to prevent any mishaps but what we need is to look further into how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

A few sustainable initiatives that our environmental community would like to recommend on behalf of the concerned citizens is that, instead of cutting all the trees on the roadside, trimming and pruning the branches to encourage further growth of the tree would be more sustainable, it is an initiative also taken up by the department of Horticulture, Municipal Corporation in New Delhi. Hence, cutting of trees should be the last resort if the risks are extremely high and no other alternative persists.

And, this is also a time to reflect upon the unorganized town planning of the Capital region, no amount of afforestation can compensate for the lost trees but new trees if planted should be well researched. Naturalists and landscape architects should be hired to do better planning of where along the road or pavements and which plantation needs to be planted to prevent the uprooting of trees or felling of branches. Because trees can survive for not just 30 years but many more years if given proper care, but these trees grew weak due to lack of maintenance as most of these trees are dependent on rainwater and not checked regularly for infestation from termites or other infests.

If not, regular water pouring, at least proper manuring or fertilizing, and regular checks for infestation should be done by the authorities to maintain their strength and growth, if these trees are numbered & checked regularly it would give more to the environment and the people than prove fatal. Deep-rooted trees need to be planted on the roadsides, to prevent mishaps as in a report in ‘The Telegraph’ by Subhajoy Roy, a West Bengal based Landscape Architect, Miss Anuradha Rathore stated that most roadside trees if fast-growing, create a visual impact but they have shallow roots & their anchoring is not strong resulting in them falling. Therefore, the trees that should be planted include Bakul, Kachan, Putranjiva, etc. which are deeper rooted and prevent falling.

All of the above-mentioned recommendations are provided in all goodwill, and we hope that our earnest efforts for the larger cause of our state will be taken into account by the honourable Concerned Authorities.

Takam Diring
Founder, Green Media