Threat to city's green lungs

Fallout of development.

Fallout of development.  

KOCHI IS undergoing the pangs of growing into a metropolis. Given the small size of the city, its carrying capacity tends to get overburdened due to the growing demands on its resources, particularly its greenery. The green canopy of Kochi is getting eroded as the city is fast turning into a concrete jungle.

The Corporation of Kochi had envisioned a project to plant trees and shrubs, says environmentalist, C.M. Joy. But there is no indication of what has happened to the project, he adds. He had prepared a detailed report on the project.

The city's green canopy is incomplete if the mangroves are not mentioned. If mangroves are allowed to grow along estuaries and the landmass, it will not only add beauty but will serve the purpose of cleaning up the environment too, says Dr. Joy.

Concerns on environment are found more in books than in practical life, Dr. Joy says. Students are taught about it. People read about it. Environmentalists and administrators talk about it. But a concrete step to implement an idea or recommendation is an ordeal for any administrative body.

Says Nature lover, M. K. Prasad, who is a member of the State executive committee of the Sastra Sahithya Parishad, there are a number of meetings held on protecting the environment and conserving natural resources, but hardly any follow up action is taken.

Except for a time long ago when Justice Janakiamma had taken steps as the municipal chairperson to plant avenue trees along the Subhash Park road, there has been no concerted action, Prof. Prasad said. Tree planting not only provides the green cover but beautifies the city too.

City planners need to take care of the green cover too along with the development of the city, says Dr. Joy.

But, trees are being felled in the name of development, says environmentalist M.R. Sethu. There are a number of overbridge works being taken up, and a lot of trees are being removed, he adds. "We are not against development or overbridges, but if some trees are planted by the developers against what they are cutting, it will certainly make a difference," says Mr. Sethu.

There are no trees alongside the highways and many other roads. ''All major cities in the country have their roads lined with trees. It is a rather sad that there is no one to take up these issues'', Mr. Sethu says.

Concrete vs. greenery

Concrete vs. greenery  

The avenue trees require some attention. This is probably why the city administration is not willing to take up the job, ponders Prof. Prasad.

In Bangalore and other cities, the maintenance of avenue trees is fully mechanised, Dr. Joy says.

The panchayats and municipalities can make headway in taking the greening concerns to the people, says Mr. Sethu. It will also be more effective if the grama panchayats take up environmental issues, he adds.

By Shyama Rajagopal Photos: H. Vibhu

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