Climate change and Copenhagen may have pushed environmental issues to the fore, and garnered some media attention, but 2009 denuded the once lush green roads of Bangalore, and saw the implementation of “development” works that are likely to further strip the city of its green character. The widening of roads and the Namma Metro project saw tree-lined avenues reduced to bare, dusty and unrecognisable stretches.
S.G. Neginhal, former Indian Forest Service Officer, grieved over the loss thus:
“Much of the work put into greening Bangalore, especially in the 1980s, has been destroyed. Lakhs of trees are being unnecessarily felled in the name of development. They could have been saved had there been some planning.
Not a solution
“The Government appears to have woken up to this problem when a Minister recently said that road widening is not really a solution to traffic woes. This sort of late thinking is destroying the city’s environment. All cities need lung spaces and roads need trees … for … city life to be healthy and sustainable. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, filter dust and reduce temperature by at least two degrees. More importantly, they are invaluable in that they provide habitat for birds and smaller animals.
“Bangalore has indeed become unrecognisable in the past two years. Owing to Metro work the face of M.G. Road has changed radically. Earlier, at least the city’s suburbs had had native trees such as neem, tamarind, ficus trees, and so on. Soon, the city will expand into Tumkur, Nelamangala and even Hoskote. And if we authorities don’t wake up to this problem, all our agricultural land, lakes, wetlands and trees will be lost forever.”