The ‘Green Lungs of Mumbai’, Aarey Forest has been in the news for months together now. Right from the avid protest of citizens including Bollywood celebs, to the time when the government pacified the raging citizens about the transplanting of trees from Aarey Forest to other locations. And now the latest news regarding Aarey Forest is a tragic one. More than 60 per cent of the trees transplanted by Mumbai metro from the Aarey Forest are dead. Yes, the High court-appointed inspection committee has found that around 61% of the trees planted by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) during the Metro Work 3 have all died. Over the past 3 days, the committee has been visiting the sites where the trees have been transplanted. And now a reputed news agency has reported the death of the felled trees.
What’s In It?
Around 1800 trees were felled from Aarey Forests and transplanted to other locations by MMRCL. Now out of the 1800 trees, 800 of them are dead. The MMRCL had earlier submitted a detailed report about the trees planted in Aarey Forest and Sanjay Gandhi National Parl. The report stated that the MMRCL uprooted more than 1500 trees on the Colaba to Seepz ( Andheri) line, that were obstructing construction work. These trees were then transplanted to 31 different locations over the past few years. Now out of all these, 956 trees or 61% of the trees have died.
The reason for the poor survival rate of the transplanted trees was the lack of research on the part of the Metro authority. There was a severe lack of proper precautions taken while deciding on transplantation. Zoru Bhathena, a tree activist stated that the authority needs to check the health of a tree before uprooting it. Proper procedures need to be followed so the tree doesn’t die of a shock.
Zoru Bhathena further compared transplanting of a tree to a human organ transplant to emphasis on the importance of proper care and research. He said that just like a human organ transplant similar precautions need to be taken for trees. The officials should not dump the trees in some random empty space without examining the soil and checking if it will help the trees’ growth or not. Bhathena saif that when it comes to Aarey, authorities just transplanted most of the trees in empty spaces without applying their minds. It seems in those very empty spaces, trees couldn’t grow for years due to unfriendly soil conditions. So how could the officials transplant it there? Apart from Bhathena other experts have also raised the same issue about proper precautions not being taken while uprooting trees.
It’s really unfortunate that the constant protests by Mumbaikars and their ardent desire to save the Aarey Forest have gone in vain. But we hope that the government takes proper precautions while transplanting trees in the near future. Trees are ardent to our survival and its high time people understood its importance. For now, you can have your slice of Nature Getaway Near Mumbai At The Karnala Bird Sanctuary