Thane : Heavy monsoon showers and accompanying gusty winds seen last month uprooted as many as 156 full grown trees across the lake-city, data compiled by the civic disaster management cell has revealed.
However, the number of tree falls seems to have dropped by more than 15% in comparison to the 214 tree falls that took place in the city last year. Civic officials attributed the drop to deforestation and the break in heavy rains and winds over the past two weeks.
"While there were 156 tree falls in July this year. as many as 130 took place in the first 17 days. Thereafter, there were only 26 such incidents in the month. Similarly, 46 of the 56 tree branch falls took place in the first half of the month, especially during the heavy rains:' said a civic official.
"During a downpour, the force of the winds and intensity of the rain puts a lot of pressure on trees. If a tree has already tilted, like many in the city, it is bound to yield to this pressure. In addition to answering to tree fall calls, we also have to look out for trees that are in dangerous conditions and are likely to fall during heavy rains: said a civic official.
Environmentalists here agree that while the intensity of the monsoon showers and winds plays a key role in the number of tree falls during monsoon season, they assert that the reason the trees are prone to crash is because of their foundation being weakened, thanks to years of concretisation and urbanisation.
"The continuous process of construction taking place across the city has resulted in the soil around trees shrinking constantly. With there is lack of soil for its roots to hold onto or absorb water, these plants and trees also dry up and weaken over time. The slightest amount of rain or wind then knock them over," said city-based environmental researcher Prasad Karnik. While external factors slowed down in the later part of July, it is bound to pick up in the coming weeks. Thee numbers are bound to shoot up when the monsoon intensifies this month, he added.