8,500 trees to be sacrificed to decongest traffic in Bengaluru

The government’s continued encouragement in destroying our environment is alarming. This time it is an estimated 8561 trees all around Bengaluru to widen the roads in order to decongest the tech corridor!

Existing two-lane and four-lane roads will be converted into four-lane and six-lane ones on the stretch between Bannerghatta, Sarjapur, Mandur, Anekal and Whitefield. Some of these trees are over 80 years old and include peepal, banyan, tamarind, and other species.

Air pollution is on the peak in Bangalore

In just the past couple of years, air pollution has risen drastically in Bengaluru, with construction dust, garbage burning and the rise in private vehicles leading to more emissions.

Vehicular pollution is among those concerns that contribute maximum to air pollution in Bengaluru. Data indicates that 60-70% of the emissions are said to originate from vehicles. This makes the city the only one in India to be most impacted by vehicular pollution.

City’s old trees are a natural buffer

In the midst of this, the city’s old trees are a natural buffer and their loss for development projects will lead to a worsening impact of climate change, not to mention the health effects of air pollution.

Amidst all of this, there is no scientific evidence that shows that the widening of roads aids in decongesting of traffic. The government did not follow due process before they decided to cut the trees. Even after filing an RTI, we haven’t heard about the exact number of trees, the current estimate is 8561 trees, it could be more as well.

The government did promise to transplant around 1000 trees but there is no clear plan on where they will do it or how they will do it. Transplanting is not only expensive but also very ineffective. Small saplings have a low survival rate and are not the same as heritage trees that are key to the protection of our ecosystems.

I and around 200 active members of Fridays For Future Bangalore work closely with Extinction Rebellion, Voice Of Sarjapur, Citizens for Bengaluru, Let India Breathe and Jhatkaa for environmental concerns in Bangalore.

We’ve filed a PIL against the felling of trees in Bengaluru without proper regulation. The next hearing is on 18th February. We will be protesting on 14th February. We’ll have a Chipkoo Movement led by students at 10 am on 14th followed by a peaceful protest outside Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) office at 4 pm on the same day.

We have already protested on 5th February by forming a human chain near Attibele where they had started the cutting of trees. But we managed to stop them before they cut more than 1 tree.

Everyone rose up against the felling of 2000 trees in Aarey, here it’s upwards 8000, I hope Bengaluru wakes up and will join hands in fighting against this injustice.

(Disha A Ravi is a 21-year-old climate activist. Working with environment and animal rights activism from a young age, she started Fridays For Future Bangalore in 2019 to bring awareness to the environmental concerns of the Global South and garner action from the Government.)

(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

Disha A Ravi