Tag Archives: Mumbai

Mumbai’s Tree Saviour 1: neighbourhood trees

This is a brief account of a citizen of Mumbai battling – in his spare time – to prevent the destruction of trees in his city.

After realising that the fine rain trees which shaded the roads in his neighbourhood were being cut down, Zoru Bhathena discovered online that over 2000 trees had been axed due to infection by mealybugs and the municipal authority was taking no action to limit this. He points out that the problem is simply resolved: once a tree has been infected it needs to be felled to prevent the infection from spreading to healthy trees. See the latest video here:

He draws attention to the Tree Act (1975) which gives extensive instructions ofr increasing tree cover in Maharashtra – summarised below.

Zoru decided to file a public interest litigation (PIL) as well as actively campaigning with protesting neighbourhood groups and publicising the case on Facebook.

It is reported that judges presiding over the Bombay High Court (HC) hearing in 2016 asked BMC:  “Unless you conduct a tree census in a proper scientific manner with the help of experts, how will you know the situation?” The HC said it will have to examine the manner in which BMC conducts the tree census. Advocate Joaquim Reis and advocate Trupti Puranik, representing said BMC had planted about 1,546 new trees in place of the dead trees, but the petitioner’s counsel, Kainaz Irani, pointed out: “The corporations plant young saplings which do not survive”. Another report added some interesting details.

The HC said that it would focus on two issues — preservation of existing trees and the census of trees so that they can be protected and increasing the green cover, by planting more trees.  

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Rainwater harvesting

An extract from another post about CERE’s earlier work with rainwater harvesting (RWH) in urban Mumbai to rural Dahanu.

CERE’s co-founder, Kitayun Rustom, who was born and bred in Dahanu (picture below left), explained that the area has hundreds of unused dry borewells and for the cost of a new borewell you can recharge four old ones (approx):

dahanu“Once the rain water harvesting recharge gets going I’m sure every gram panchayat will ask for recharge instead of drilling new borewells. Water is one of the most important things in their lives and they were completely with us on this. One villager had dismantled the entire front portion of his house to make way for the JCB. They are truly appreciative of this work.”

“In due course nine borewells have been recharged all within a radius of 5kms and all within one groundwater aquifer. We will monitor these borewells during and after the monsoon and accordingly plan different RWH measures (like bunding, terracing, roof top recharge etc.) for next year”.

Malcolm Baug well3In 2006 a large urban well in Mumbai (right) was cleaned out and carefully repaired, then a recharging system was laid. An approach for this service was made by representatives of an agiary (temple) in central Mumbai but only now has a similar scheme got off the ground.

CERE’s latest news is that their efforts to introduce a RWH system for Saher Lane which houses Saher Agiary, Saher Bungalow and two tall residential towers have borne fruit after a year of negotiations.

To read the full article click here.