Ahmedabad: On Saturday and Sunday, Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) officials removed 20 trees from city roads and structures which were damaged by fallen trees. These trees were about 40 to 100 years old, said AFES officials. In almost every monsoon, the city witnesses over 100 such tree removals.
While uprooting or falling of trees in monsoon might not raise many eyebrows, it’s happening at a time when there are only 11 trees per 100 persons in Ahmedabad city. Moreover, most of these are roadside trees, whose roots have been weakened by construction and development activities claim activists.
Why do the trees fall? Rajesh Bhatt, additional chief fire officer, AFES, said that most of the calls are received from sides of roads.
“Periodic trimming is a must for sustenance of the trees on the roadside,” said Bhatt. “Most of the trees are over 40 years old. When their roots become weak, they lose ability to withhold weight.”

He said that the water on leaves and tree makes it heavy and thus the tree begins to lean to one side. “If no care is taken at this stage, there are chances that the tree can fall and even injure someone, as seen last month when a woman was injured by the fall of a tree near Lal Darwaja,” he said.
But the way the urban road infrastructure, such as pavements are created also adds to the issue. Activists said that when the tree roots are covered with cement-concrete, its survival becomes difficult.

“It takes about two decades for varieties like Neem to fully grow. The western city areas anyways have less trees and unscientific handling of the trees chokes their roots,” said an activist. “Most of the trees cut by civic authorities are fully grown and it’s a pity that we are losing such trees primarily due to our folly,” he added.


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