Why Is BMC Removing Decorative Lights That It Put On The Many Trees In Mumbai?

The lights were part of the Chief Minister's Mumbai Beautification Project, launched in December 2022.

by Nikitha Sebastian
Why Is BMC Removing Decorative Lights That It Put On The Many Trees In Mumbai?

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has begun removing decorative lights strung around trees in Mumbai following a Bombay High Court notice. This action comes just a week after the court issued directives to the Maharashtra government and municipal corporations of Mumbai, Thane, and Mira Bhayandar.

Lights For Looks, Worries For Trees

BMC decorative lights
Image Credit: Canva (Representative Image)

The lights were part of the Chief Minister’s Mumbai Beautification Project, launched in December 2022. While intended to enhance the city’s aesthetics, the project sparked concerns from citizens and activists. Their primary argument centred on the detrimental effects these lights have on trees. Wrapped wires and cables can girdle the bark, hindering nutrient flow and growth.

According to experts, these decorative lights disrupt the plants’ circadian rhythm, the internal clock that regulates various biological processes. Additionally, the constant artificial illumination disrupts the natural light cycle, impacting photosynthesis the vital process by which they convert light energy into chemical energy to fuel their activity and potentially harming nocturnal wildlife.

Also Read: Flaked By Pine Trees, This Hidden Natural Paradise In Kashmir Is The Main Source Of River Jhelum

Balancing Beauty And Ecology

Image Credit: Canva (Representational Image)

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Rohit Manohar Joshi brought the issue to the Bombay High Court’s attention. The PIL detailed the adverse effects of these lights on trees and nocturnal creatures. The court, in turn, directed the state government and civic bodies to file affidavits in response to the petition.

While no official orders have been issued yet, several city wards have begun taking down the lights following directives from senior civic officials. The removal process is happening somewhat discreetly, with some wards already starting the work.

This move by the BMC indicates a potential shift in their approach to beautification. The corporation might have to explore alternative methods that enhance the city’s aesthetics without compromising the health of its urban tree cover.

Also Read: Maharashtra: 32,000 Trees Chopped, 7,000 More At Risk For NHAI’s Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway

The Bombay High Court’s notice and the subsequent action by the BMC are positive steps towards protecting Mumbai’s trees. It highlights the growing awareness of the importance of urban green spaces and the need to balance beautification with ecological responsibility.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva (Representative Image)

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