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Updated: June 8, 2013 13:05 IST

Shoddy stormwater work weakens trees, say experts

Sunitha Sekar
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Exotic species fall easily during storms: Photo: M. Karunakaran
The Hindu Exotic species fall easily during storms: Photo: M. Karunakaran

Uprooted by the recent cyclone, several trees still lie neglected along roads.

While there may be several reasons for uprooting of trees, experts point to the improper digging of roads for stormwater drains as a major factor.

D. Vijayabhaskaran, president of Exnora Green Cross, said, “The roots are severely damaged when the trench for stormwater drains is not dug in the right way. The tree suffers 40 per cent loss of balance and when cyclones or storms strike, they collapse.”

Also, residents recklessly cut off branches that stretch over their premises. As a result, the branches lean precariously over the road and get uprooted easily.

“In the name of development, hundreds of trees have been cut. Most of the trees in Gandhi Nagar, Besant Nagar and Indira Nagar in Adyar fell during the recent storm because their roots had become weak owing to inappropriate construction of storm water drains,” said T. D. Babu, a marine biologist.

Corporation officials said they changed the alignment of stormwater drains on many occasions to avoid damage to trees. “We have received strict instructions that trees should not be endangered. But if it is inevitable, we cut them only after a nod from higher authorities,” an official said.

The Corporation should coordinate with other departments before development works are taken up, said an official of the forest department. “The Corporation should hold meetings with other departments to ensure trees are not affected when civic works are carried out,” the official said.

V. Arun, tree expert and conservationist, said exotic species that grew aplenty in the city were not very sturdy. “Exotic species, particularly gulmohar, are planted everywhere since they grow quickly. But they fall easily during storms. Though the growth of indigenous trees is slow, they are stable and strong,” he said.

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