Friday, May 08, 2009

Namma trees or Namma metro?

You want a metro, you don't want to cut down trees. You want wide roads, but you dont want to cut down trees. But when you build your own house, you will cut down every tree, bush and shrub that existed in your plot.

I have nothing against tree huggers and I am no anti environmentalist. But to oppose road widening or the Metro because trees will be cut is foolish - thankfully the government has not obliged.

Almost all readers of this blog would have seen Bangalore from the air. It is truly a unique city. Wherever there are houses (or layouts), you will observe from the air that there are no trees inside most compounds. The only trees that exist in Bangalore are on the sides of roads or the military areas or some parks. Thank god for the military inside Bangalore.

Tree huggers might want to check the greenery in plots (theirs too). Typically, homes in Bangalore have cut down every shard of greenery from their plot while they proceed to build it end to end with concrete and marble. (I don't blame them for it, high land prices means that any point a room is worth more than a tree either as living space or its rentability. Ever heard anybody rent a tree? So, only the rich can have trees in their plots.)

Cut to apartment owners. Apartments have few if any trees because they will damage the wall, the frontage, the foundation and the view from the balcony apart from attracting monkeys and bees and some of them may occasionally fall during a thunderstorm (after their roots have been progressively weakened). So, cut it is.

Coming to the Metro. If a sapling or two is planted for every single one cut down, in 20 years you wont remember these trees - because you will have a lot of greenery by then thanks to the Metro. But if the metro is not built, these trees will die of pollution anyway. And this is the same reason why trees on roadsides, progressively hemmed in by asphalt, carbon monoxide fall in minor thunderstorms each year. The fate of Lalbagh wont be any different.

Of course, the current opposition stems from Lalbagh which is, a heritage space, but think of the Metro as a long term story. The metro will reduce pollution, is a cleaner mode of moving people and in the long run, cleaner air means that the flora and fauna at Lalbagh will survive longer and be healthier.

See Bangkok or Singapore. Nearer home, see Delhi. The sooner we build the metro, the better it is for Bangalore. Trees can be transplanted, alternate greenery can be created - even creating a mini forest in other places around Bangalore is a better way to go about it. Better yet, pledge that you wont use your cars once the metro is ready. Or try to use public transport whenever you can even today. There is demand for good clean public transport. The sooner we get there, the better it is for us - it is worth losing a few hundred trees.

5 comments:

BharGo said...

Past experience is that trees are never replaced... if they are, then there is nobody to look after them and only 10% survive... Mumbai is set to loose about 4k+ trees in the coming days at the altar of infrastructure...

"Forest somewhere" is a naive concept as creating a forest guzzles a lot of money, time and effort... check out if the BNHS tree project has succeeded in Karnataka...

We need a mechanism to ensure that greenery increases in Urban India through govt-citizen partnership which has check and balances...

Jam said...

I kind of agree with BharGo when he/she says that in the past we have never ever seen any of these municipal corporations or public bodies replacing these trees in any form.

While infrastructure improvement is one of the highest priorities for any governments and for the people at large, I personally believe that we need to devise some kind of middle path when it comes to re-foresting all the trees that are uprooted in the name of development.

I personally don't have an answer or even suggestions, but I am sure given enough time and thought, the powers that be can come up with some kind of workable solution.

Cheers.....Jai

The Bangalorean said...

Agree with the above posters. It's easier to destroy than create. If you look at the track record of our civic authorities,all the greenery in Bangalore was created 30-40 years ago under the tenune of such worthy men like MH Marigowda, Krumbeigel and Laxman Rao. Since then, not one garden worth it's name has been created. WHo is going to plant and then ensure 2 trees grow to their prime for every tree that's cut down? You? Me? THe corporation? Nobody is probably the right answer. The Metro is important, but it can go underground. Sure, it will cost more but it's worth it.

neelakantan said...

Underground is a neat option! I agree...

Tintu said...

congratsssssss to alllllllll kannadigas n indians:):):) NAmma metro is inaguarated in BANGALORE!!! this ll show bangalore is developing very fast!!! not even mumbai can compete wit our bangalore: