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Save Trees: How strangling wires and hammering nails kill trees

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SHIMLA-For the last couple of years, HW tried to bring the attention of Govt. and the public towards continuous tree abuse in Shimla by HPSEB , the public, advertisers, cable operators etc.,but the major share of contribution comes from HPSEB. The trees are strangled with metal wires, and iron rods and nails are hammered into their trunk, which causes a great harm to the trees. A tree eventually dies or doesn’t grow properly. But, the DFO at Shimla MC, HPSEB, Forest Department, and the public couldn’t get any clue about what HW has been talking about, why we have been continuously protesting against the tree abuse all over the Shimla city, and why we regularly keep roaming like abandoned jerks, clicking nails and wires on trees. Here comes the importance of education. Therefore, we thought of revising the botany basics that each of us learned during the high school science classes. In nutshell, we will discuss how it harms a tree if we strangle it with wires, hammer nail or iron rods into it, and why these practices must be discouraged.

Wires obstruct the Plant Transportation System

Its an scientifically established fact that the all plants are categorized as living things. The plant transportation system is the internal mechanism of supplying water and nutrients from roots to all other parts of the tree. Not exactly, but this transportation system is somewhat similar to that of a human body: the blood carries oxygen and other food components to different parts of the body.

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The first layer of the tree body is called bark. Right under the bark, there is a layer of tissues which is called Cambium, the area just beneath the bark where cells divide and is responsible for the increase tree girth. Then comes two most important passages xylem and phloem. Xylem is responsible for carrying water and minerals to the leaves where it creates its food through photosynthesis. Phloem is a translocating vessels that facilitate the movement of the food components to the growing stems or the storage tissues. The life and growth of a tree completely depends upon the uninterrupted service of this transportation system.

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Now, all this operation takes place inside the tree trunk. When a metal wire is tightly wrapped around the trunk and it stays there for a prolonged period of time, the tree trunk grows around it and the wire penetrates the two important passages, xylem and phloem as the diameter of the tree trunk widens. As a result of that, either a portion of the tree above the point where the wire penetrated don’t receive the supply of water and minerals or same happens to some specific part of the gradually growing tree. The upper portion or the tree either dries or it doesn’t grow to its full capacity. So, in a way, it’s similar to cutting the veins in a human body or like choking by wrapping a tight wire around the neck. It does a great harm to a tree with irreversible damages.

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How nails damage a tree?

The thickness of the bark decides how much damage a nail of a particular size could do to a tree if it’s hammered into it. If a nail is long enough to penetrate through the bark, it reaches the two transportation vessels, xylem and phloem. When the nail corrodes, dissolved metals makes it toxic. The damage is maximum if the metal happens to be highly reactive like copper where the chemical reaction will oxidize the metal, leaving a very fetal toxic that flows to the whole tree through the two vessels and ensures that the tree or some particular part of it dries gradually. If not killed, it weakens the tree, and in a weakened stage, the tree may die from other stress such as heavy rains, snowfall, drought etc.

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If not this way, then hammering a nail can harm a tree in the same way as a open wound of a nail would do to a human body. The tree trunk is opened for infections and the entry of foreign pathogenic agents like fungi. If the tree fails to develop sufficient immunity against such infections, the whole tree could eventually dry.

For the sake of human life and chainsaw

The deep embedded nail, rod or metal wire, which eventually disappears into tree trunk and no more visible to human eye, could result in mishaps as well. If you search the web, you’ll come across incidents where people lost their limbs or reported serious injuries after the chainsaw bounced back on the victims after striking against the metal nails, rods and metal wires inside the tree-trunk. It also causes damage to the equipments. So, it’s better to check such practices when we know that sooner or later every tree is going to be axed,especially if the government and the public continued to maintained their passiveness towards this highly sensitive issue of tree abuse and intentional deforestation.

We hope, now it’s comprehensible enough for DFO Shimla MC, HPSEB, and the public, who believe that hammering nails or strangling tight wires doesn’t do any damage to a tree. HW is continuously making efforts to stop this practice and get the nails, iron rods, collars, and metal wires etc. removed as soon as possible.

How you can help

If you come across such trees in your area which either have metal wires wrapped around them or you see nails/rods/collars hammered into them, then please do report it to either DFO or click a few photographs with your mobile and forward them to HW with their locations. We will make sure that these trees are saved. So, next time, don’t ignore it, do report it. We all share the responsibility to keep the earth green and save precious trees.

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Advance Studies Images:Abhishek Negi

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

Environment

Himachal to launch Polythene Hatao Paryavaran Bachao Campaign along with plantation of 15 lakh plants

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Plastic Hatao Paryavaran bachao campaign

Shimla: While the two Municipal Corporations of Himachal Pradesh and Municipal Councils of various towns are nowhere near the solid waste segregation and proper disposal, the State Environment, Science and Technology will be launching a week-long ‘Polythene Hatao Paryavaran Bachao Campaign’ from May 27 to June 2, 2018, across the State to motivate people for the elimination of polythene and protection of the environment, Director D.C. Rana informed on Friday.

He said that this campaign would be coordinated in each district by urban local bodies and PRIs under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner.

Cooperation of all government offices, NGO’s would also be sought. Public representatives, MLA’s, Ministers would also be approached for motivating people towards shunning polythene and protecting the environment.

Efforts would also be made for cleaning of water bodies, areas near water sources, tourist places etc, during the campaign, he added.

Plantation Drive during HP Van Mahotsava

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) G.S. Goraya on Friday informed that 15 lakh plants would be planted in the state during three days plantation campaign after holding of State Level Van Mahotsava between 9 to July 15 this year.

A plantation campaign would be taken up throughout the state for three days starting two days after holding of State level Van Mahotsava between the said dates. In addition to the local communities, all members of H.P. Vidhan Sabha would also be requested to participate in the planting campaign at any of the sites on the date convenient to them.

The matter regarding the implementation of Reward Scheme for the staff of the Forest department, communities, and schools, which are doing good work in nursery raising, carrying out plantations, and forest protection work, was also discussed.

Fields officers were requested to send their suggestions on criteria to be fixed to judge good performances for purpose of nominating and finalizing the recipients of the proposed rewards.

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Creative Corner

Mulakaat: A candid video shot in Manali dedicated to Mother Nature

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Kullu: A Manali-based startup, 4Play, has offered perhaps the most wonderful tribute to the mother- nature on this Mother’s day. In just four days, a team of youths at 4Play prepared a video, which includes some very well shot scenes and fresh glimpses of marvellous landscapes of Manali.

Watch Video

The video features Praveen Ghanghas (29), a nomadic mountain lover, who can be seen climbing up a high deodar tree and standing at the top of it like an eagle. No need to say, the view was breathtaking.

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Praveen Ghanghas in action

The 4Play shared some pictures of Praveen, who is definitely a fitness freak, with Himachal Watcher (HW).

He is a professional mountaineer with specialization in mountain search & rescue along with being a certified wilderness medical first aid responder. He is a part of the 4Play team and leads operations of all technical shoots at 4Play.

Praveen Ghanghas

Praveen Ghanghas in action

Nature has been depicted as a caring mother, who’s always willing to give without complaining. Similarly, Mother Nature does not a complaint about the wrath that the humankind has unleashed on it. So, we owe an apology to it for irreversible damage human developmental activities have done to nature.

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Human flag by Praveen Ghanghas

Ironically, the Manali, like rest of the tourist towns, is overburdened with ever increasing tourist flow, and the resources of the place are falling victim to over-exploitation. The ecology is heading towards its doom while the government and the people are thinking only about exploiting the beauty of Manali for money.

We have been lately trying to bring forth the subject how the weight on the mountains is increasing and how the growing tourism is only making it worse. We have lately done stories on the same line. So on the occasion of Mother’s Day, we wanted to send out this video as an acknowledgement to all mothers (even mother nature) who never complain and continue to take care of us despite everything

, Shantanu Negi of 4Play told Himachal Watcher.

Is not it an excellent way to tell people to spend more time with nature and care-back for it?

Manali video by 4play

The video came from the same team that was behind ‘Bawali Booch’ – a short musical and adventurous tour of Manali town. It’s worth your time.

About 4Play

4Play is a start-up that is catering exclusively to the Extreme, Adventure and Action sports communities in India. Curating stories from the Indian outdoors, the group is currently weaving Eastern Hemisphere’s first content network for extreme and action sports. The team is looking forward to getting into the international arena so that athletes could gain mainstream attention.

Initially, the three founders of the start-up set, Anuj, Kshitij and Sukrit, set up their own shop in a rented apartment in a shady alley of New Delhi. However, they soon realised that metropolis was way unaffordable compared to their meagre investment. That is when they made the decision to move the operations to a quaint place, away from the much-crowded Tier 1 & 2 cities.

Very recently, the start-up launched an incubation program at Indian Institute of Technology IIIT), Mandi – Catalyst. The founders say that being one of the few startups in the region, 4Play enrolled for the program to lay the foundation of a community to spearhead enterprise in the region.

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Environment

Taxi operators cheer after Manali-Rohtang ‘electric bus service’ cancelled ahead of peak tourist season

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Electric bus service in Rohtang cancelled

Shimla: The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur was supposed to flag-off the much awaited electric bus service on April 30, 2018, from Manali to Rohtang for the tourists.  However, it was cancelled at the last moment. 

It doesn’t sound like a co-incident that the members of the Him Anchal Taxi Union, Manali, had approached the minister urging him to not to begin the service as it was hitting their livelihood. Otherwise, a protest was already planned ahead of the CM’s visit to Kullu.

However, the ceremony was cancelled suddenly.

The peak tourist season beings in May, therefore, the taxi operators are cheering as the tourists won’t have any other option but to hire expensive services of the cabs.  

Himachal Pradesh had not only become the first state to commission 100 percent battery-powered electric buses but also the first in the world to ply them at an altitude of 3, 978 meters (13,000 feet) on mountainous terrain of Pir Panjal ranges of the eastern Himalayas when Transport Minister GS Bali flagged off the first bus on September 22, 2017.

The decision had faced protest from the local cab operators back then too.

However, it was on November 14, 2018, that two of the newly commissioned electric buses on Manali-Rohtang Pass stretch begun ferrying passengers on a regular basis. The HRTC was charging Rs. 600 per seat for a two-way trip starting from Manali to the Rohtang snowline.

The electric buses are manufactured in a tie-up with Chinese firm BYD Auto Industry Co Ltd. Each bus costs 1.70 crores and Himachal had bought 25 of them at that time. The total cost of this deal was Rs. 48 crores.  

The CM, however, said he was not under any pressure and some unfinished formalities caused the cancellation.  He did not mention anything specific about the period for which the introduction of the e-buses would remain pending.

The CM also contradicted his statements given to media in which it was suggested that the government was looking to find a middle-path to provide relief to the taxi operators. Also, the taxi union said the operators were ensured that the e-bus service would be put on hold. 

 The decision was taken by the previous government after the National Green Tribunal had lashed out at it for unchecked environmental degradation around Rohtang Pass due to increasing load of domestic and international tourism.

The taxi operators had been protesting against the NGT orders as well as the plying of electric buses. The previous government could not ignore the orders despite the protests.

In 2014, taking note of research works pointing out fastening of glacier melting in the vicinity to Rohtang and blacking of the snow due to heavy vehicular emissions, the NGT had restricted the entry of vehicles to only 1,000 including both diesel and petrol.

The transport minister is also of the view that the developmental works would be taken up only after considering the interests of the people first.

Though the decision would benefit the local taxi operators and the hospitality industry, it can’t be done at the cost of environmental degradation. It must not be forgotten that the tourism industry exists because of the natural beauty and purity of the air in Rohtang Pass.

Therefore, we should hope that the government would not take such crucial decision to temporarily please a section of the hospitality industry.  The environmental protection lies at the root of human survival and delay in taking measures to avert it will only make it worse.

We hope that the government would actually come out with some productive solution to ensure the protection of both – the interests of the locals as well as environmental protection.    

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