KOCHI: The first victim that a development activity claims is the green cover of the area. Kochi, which is on the path to being a metro city, too is seeing a lot of development activities. And many trees have been cut to pave way for these development projects. However, in this race to achieve progress, those implementing the projects have conveniently forgotten the guideline which makes it mandatory to plant a sapling for every tree felled. According to Martin Lowell, Assistant Conservator of Forests, around 2,000 trees have been felled as part of the development projects. But apart from Kochi Metro, none of the organisations implementing these projects have bothered to replace the trees they had felled.
“When organisations or people come to us seeking permission to cut trees as part of some development project, we advise them to plant 10 saplings for every single one felled. Some of them don’t bother, while others do plant saplings but forget their upkeep. A huge number of trees need to be cut to make way for development, but they have to be replaced to maintain ecological balance,” he said.
According to the Forest Department, every organisation carrying out developmental activities need to ape Kochi Metro. Though several trees had been felled for the project, the Metro authorities planted 10 saplings in place of every single tree that was axed. The agency has also shown diligence in taking care of these saplings.
With Kochi losing its green cover, especially the valuable mangroves, it teetering on the verge of an environmental disaster. A study done by national agencies has revealed that the sea level is rising along the coast of the commercial capital of the state. Also, the temperature has been showing a variation over the years.