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To: Office of the Assistant Conservator of Forests and Tree Officer Subdivision-1 17th Floor,P.U. Building, M.G. Road Bangalore Email id : email@example.com Phone No : 9480685381
Save 800 Trees from becoming a Steel Flyover
800+ trees are being cut so that an over expensive project of the Government, “The Steel Flyover”, can be undertaken. The 7 km stretch of steel is projected cost 1,800 Crore rupees. ISRO went to Mars, 54.6 million km away from Earth on a lesser budget(450 Crore rupees)(according to The Hindu).
Without these trees, air pollution levels will further increase since there may not be enough trees left to absorb any of the harmful pollutants. Although the project might ease traffic, it will encourage more private vehicles on our roads. If this kind of construction project results in preservation of the city’s green cover and is carried out in favour of public transport, then that would mean actual development of the city. This over ambitious project of the Government depletes the green cover of the city without providing a solution to the root cause of traffic.
Transferring the funds being put into the Steel Flyover, to the already existing ‘under construction’ flyovers and stalled projects like Namma Metro may prove to be a better plan as it provides better connectivity across the city. More electric buses, public transport and awareness programmes with incentives that encourage commuters to use public transportation is the need of the hour. Carpooling should be encouraged. IT and Business Parks should provide buses to its employees. This will drastically reduce the number of private vehicles. Dedicated cycle lanes will encourage the to use of cycles for commute, further decreasing air pollution levels and traffic congestion. Illegal parking of vehicles on either side reduces the size of usable roads by active traffic. By creating parking areas, congestion on roads will decrease. The decision has to be taken to satisfy long term needs instead of short term development goals.
With this project, we endanger the flora and fauna endemic to Bangalore City. The trees under threat due to this project are home to some magnificent creatures like Slender Loris. As one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Bangalore must lead the way by incorporating sustainable development and finding ways to tackle climate change. Development is a must for catering to an ever growing population in this city. But development should not happen at the cost of environmental degradation.
Why is this important?
According to National Assessment of Air Pollution put out by Ministry of Environment and Forests, vehicles contribute to 42% of the total particulate matter and 67% of nitrogen oxides in air. With Bangalore city reaching dangerous levels of pollutants(57% increase in PM10 between the years 2010 and 2014, according to Central Pollution Control Board), air pollution levels will increase further without any trees along the roads to absorb pollutants. The trees provide shade and fresh air to pedestrians and better atmosphere for residents. In an already polluted city, we cannot cut down the only air purifiers we have! What chance do we have at survival after that?
These trees have taken decades to grow this big and beautiful, and cutting them down just so that a person can get to the Airport 20 minutes early is not making use of space in the best way. The Steel Flyover project shows the lack of planning by the Government. A lot of flyovers and bridges have been constructed in the past but they haven't given any relief to the commuters in this city. How will this 7km project be any different? Besides, it is a matter of shame for a city that has prided itself on being known as the Garden City of India, where we once walked under canopies formed by trees lining our streets.
A developed country is not a country in which every poor man uses a car, but a country where every rich man uses the public transport. We need to make sure that Bangalore does not change from Garden city to some ill-planned metropolitan. Public funds need to be utilized in a way that goes beyond short term convenience and provides lasting infrastructure which complements our natural environment, and not destroy it.
Just imagine a city with no trees,only more flyovers, more vehicles and more emissions. Since older and larger trees take up more carbon, we need to seriously reconsider the idea of chopping big trees and planting younger seedlings. 60,000 saplings promised by the Government cannot compensate for what 800 full grown trees can offer. These saplings can take upto 20-30 years to reach full maturity. The Government promises to plant 3 saplings if it cuts one mature tree. But the Government does not share any details regarding
-The type of saplings being planted
-Where the saplings will be planted
-Whether any committee is being formed to look after the saplings and make sure they survive
-Whether these saplings will face the same fate as the 800 trees being cut down now for other “development projects”.
If the Government keeps it’s promise of planting 60,000 saplings, then it will be outside the city where a large amount of fertile land is available. But will these trees on the outskirts of the town absorb the pollutants we will be breathing inside Bangalore?
Imagine yourself walking on one of those Bangalore streets which have huge trees on both sides of the road, and the trees happen to twist and turn around themselves forming an arch, and only letting a few sunrays to touch the ground. The cool Bangalore breeze making the trees dance and a few petite flowers fall from the trees on you, bringing their beautiful fresh scent to you. If these trees are cut, imagine what we lose. We lose a part of our heritage. We lose a part of us.