This information was revealed in a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query by Shakeel Ahmed Shaikh.
Mumbai: Mumbai has witnessed more than 21,000 incidents of tree falling in the last five years due to natural disasters, with 30 lives lost to tree falling. Moreover, 71 incidents of landslides claiming seven lives have been recorded in the same period between 2013 and 2018.
This information was revealed in a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query by Shakeel Ahmed Shaikh. As such, environmentalists have highlighted the need for proper maintenance of the city’s trees and regulation on illegal hill quarrying in the city.
“The alarming number shows that the authorities need to be more proactive and systematic in maintaining the infrastructure as well as the environment landscape of the city so that such incidents and causalities can be prevented during natural calamities,” said Mr. Shaikh.
The RTI query revealed that as many as a 21,452 incidents related to falling trees and branches were reported. In 2017 alone, around 5,714 tree fall and related incidents were recorded, while 2,869 incidents had been reported till July this year.
“This is indeed a shocking number. While tree fall is a natural phenomenon, it is up to the civic authorities to ensure proper management of trees. Still, we see that many trees are left with concretised base with no space for roots to breathe. There is also haphazard trimming of trees still happening in the city, where most of their leaves and branches are hacked in the name of tree-trimming,” said Zoru Bhathena, Mumbai based tree-activist.
Environmentalists have also raised concerns over degradation of hill slopes around the city due to cutting of trees on such slopes.
“Most of the landslides are occurring as there is no soil left to retain the water.
Many hutments have mushroomed on these hill slopes. Another reason is the illegal quarrying. Dindoshi hill has seen rampant quarrying and is still witnessing felling of trees, which is a disaster waiting to happen as it is the area where the Oshiwara river flows,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director of NGO Vanashakti.