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Updated: June 14, 2013 16:02 IST

Green drive

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Close Examination Of a dead tree by volunteers of Tree Bank. Photo: Sepcial Arrangement
Close Examination Of a dead tree by volunteers of Tree Bank. Photo: Sepcial Arrangement

NGO Tree Bank carries out a count of dead trees and organises initiatives for a verdant future

Perched on a leafless and dry Siris tree, a young volunteer of Tree Bank peels its bark. The exposed portion is overrun with insects and has blotches of white fungus. Two other volunteers take measurements of the tree, which stands in this sorry state on the Thoraipakkam-Pallavaram Road. After a thorough examination of the tree, Tree Bank’s founder G. Mullaivanam shakes his head and pronounces his verdict: “It can’t be saved. It’s dead and has to go.” Another volunteer pens down the facts about this unlucky tree in a notebook that contains details of similar trees.

Nailing offenders

The NGO is carrying out a count of dead trees around Chennai with the aim of getting them removed. Called ‘Brown Tree Project’, around 60 volunteers fan into various areas to identify, study and report trees that have lost their sap of life. “These trees jeopardise the lives of motorists and pedestrians — they are likely to fall and harm people during storms. The project is also aimed at sensitising governing authorities to the abuse trees on public spaces are subjected to. Nails being driven into them to hang placards for advertising products and services is the most obvious menace. It’s easy to nail these offenders, because they leave their contact details behind. As we went about looking for lifeless trees, we found extremely disturbing evidences of man’s callous treatment of Nature. We noticed attempts at burning the trunks of living trees. Frequent checks are the only way to stop such things. These trees should be regularly assessed for diseases too,” says Mullaivanam. “Copies of a report based on the findings of Brown Tree Project will be sent to the Highways Department, the Corporation and the Forest Department.”

Sapling planting drive

Tree Bank, which has launched imaginative sapling planting drives, including celebration of people’s birthdays and other special occasions by landing up on their doorsteps — on their invitation, of course — and planting saplings in their backyards, has not lost sight of its primary focus. Brown Tree Project will request replacements for the dead trees. Explains Mullaivanam: “There is a saying that 10 trees need to be planted to compensate for the loss of one tree. We hope the authorities act on this green wisdom.”

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A germ of an idea February 5, 2013

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