VISAKHAPATNAM: The City of Destiny has been stripped of its green cover in the aftermath of cyclone Hudhud. In the city spread over more than 600 sq km, preliminary estimations reveal at least 70 percent of the trees, including those on its scenic Eastern Ghats, have been lost.
With winds of 200 kmph blowing across the coast for more than 10 hours, several large trees that have grown over decades have been uprooted or had their branches broken. Tree branches could be seen everywhere, blocking the roads, doorways. “I never imagined that it could to such large extent. The loss of trees is a long-term loss,” felt V Laksmi Prasanna, a software engineer from Chennai, who is working here.
The uprooted trees also caused damage to buildings, vehicles, and electricity and telecommunication cables.
The Eastern Ghats stood naked as the rocks were exposed as the trees of up to 25 feet height were felled by the gales. “For a tree of 25 feet to grow, it would take anywhere between 7-20 years depending on the species. We have lost many medicinal and rare plants grown on the Eastern Ghats. It would take at least 7-8 years to witness healthy growth of trees in the region,” said JV Ratnam, an environmentalist.
POLLUTION TO GROW in Vizag
With the city losing its greenery, Visakhapatnam is facing a threat of industrial pollution. The Pollution Control Board officials pointed out that the city is placed among the top 10 most polluted cities in the country. “As we lost most of the trees due to cyclone Hudhud, the pollution levels in the city will increase phenomenally,” said a scientist at PCB.