Stop cement paving around trees: NGT

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Concretisation of trees will hinder water seepage into roots.

Visakhapatnam: A petition was filed by environment enthusiasts from the city on cement paving around trees planted by GVMC that prevents water seep into the roots. Acting on this, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the state environment secretary to file a complete and comprehensive affidavit in relation to de-concretisation of trees, fresh plantation and steps being taken. Also what directions have been issued by the state government to ensure that the trees in the cities had not fallen and destroyed whatsoever and there is no concretisation of the trees.

As a result of Hudhud cyclone in October, 2014, the city and its surroundings lost considerable greenery. While the government and GVMC rightly undertook an extensive tree plantation drive, most of the species chosen by them were not native and they were highly water intensive in a city that is water deficient, said J.V .Ratnam of Green Climate who implead in the original petition filed by a Delhi-based NGO on plantation in the national capital.

Even where tree planting was done, cement paving right up to their stems prevented rain water to seep into their root systems, stunting their growth, he added. This matter has come up before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Original Application No. 82/2013. NGT, in their order directed AP government to file an affidavit on their earlier directives not to undertake cement paving around trees.

“There were guidelines issued on this earlier by Union Ministry of Urban Development. GVMC is yet to implement the NGT order. At almost all locations in the city, extensive cement paving has hindered rain water seepage into the root systems of the existing trees as well as the newly planted saplings, leading to their stunted growth. This is especially ironic when the state government is encouraging rain water harvesting all over the state,” Mr Ratnam said.

K. Padmavathi of Save Trees, New Delhi, explained how they were campaigning to save the trees in Delhi. It was due to the efforts of her colleagues that the issue of the need to ban cement paving around trees had come up before the NGT.

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