THANE : In a move to minimise the tree fall cases, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has started an initiative to replace concrete slabs and tiles around full-grown trees with permeable metal grates around them. The National Green Tribunal, in a 2015 order, had instructed the TMC to ensure the area around each tree was deconcretized so that the roots had room to grow and stabilize; thus reducing the number of tree fall cases.
This, however, could not be properly carried out in busy areas of old Thane city as it would shrink the narrow roads and add to traffic woes. A few months ago, city-based environmentalist and member of green NGO Thane Matadata Jagran Abhiyan Rohit Joshi met the city engineer and suggested that they install metal grates instead of concrete around these trees.
“Freeing up the road space around the roadside trees would make the lanes in areas like Naupada, Charai and Pachpakhadi narrower and not removing the concrete around the trees would eventually lead to their fall. So I realized that if a metal grate was installed around them, it would not only allow cars to pass on it, but also allow water and air to pass through it and reach the roots,” Joshi said.
In May, I saw that a lot of road projects were going on. I met the city engineer and suggested that the metal grate project could be done simultaneously. He immediately began work on acquiring good quality material for this prototype,” Joshi added. As the project is just starting out, the civic body has decided to test it out with around 30 grates in a few pockets of Naupada. We have acquired 15 iron grates and 15 RCC grates. We have begun installing them around trees in Naupada. This will help water seep through and air to reach the soil and roots easily. If all goes well, then this project will be implemented all across the city,” said city engineer Anil Patil.