Green or not? Hyderabad recognised as 'Tree City' but nature lovers not happy with tag

Hyderabad is only one of the two cities in India that have been recognised this year. The other city is Mumbai. A total of 120 cities were recognised as Tree Cities of the world across 23 countries.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  12 April 2022 1:48 PM GMT
Green or not? Hyderabad recognised as Tree City but nature lovers not happy with tag

Hyderabad: The city has been recognised as a "Tree City" for the second consecutive year by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN).

Hyderabad is only one of the two cities in India that have been recognised this year. The other city is Mumbai. A total of 120 cities were recognised as Tree Cities of the world across 23 countries.

According to Tree Cities of the World, a total of 3,50,56,635 trees were planted in Hyderabad in the last year and it recorded 500 volunteer hours.

The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada are the countries that have the most number of 'Tree Cities' –37,19, and 18 cities, respectively.

According to their website, after being recognised by Tree Cities of the World, the organisation will provide direction, assistance, and worldwide recognition for the community's dedication to its urban forest. It will provide a framework for a healthy, sustainable urban forestry programme in the towns or cities and the benefits are substantial.

However, citizens and nature enthusiasts of Hyderabad are not celebrating this recognition and say otherwise.

"Hyderabad is part of the Deccan scrub and Telangana is not very green. However, the greenery has increased over the years thanks to Haritha Haram," said Sadhana Ramchander, a nature enthusiast based in Hyderabad.

She added, "The recent recognition might be a bit of an exaggeration." She explained that saplings are planted as part of the Haritha Haram and cut later, once they grow, by the electricity department. Sadhana said that she often finds several disfigured trees across Hyderabad.

Activists and nature lovers further claimed that native plants should be grown instead of exotic plants.

"Even small plants that are being planted are being counted as trees. While initiatives like Haritha Haram are great, there should be a census to see how many trees have truly survived over the years," said Asiya Khan, a nature enthusiast. She further said that very few people maintain the trees after they are planted. "A lot of trees die due to lack of proper care," she added.

Natasha Ramarathnam explained, "Data shows that the green cover has gone up in Hyderabad. But on the ground, it's not completely true. A lot of trees are being cut for various reasons such as for construction, road widening, and more."

She continued, "The Punjagutta flyover has a steep curve because there is a mall there. If we can turn a flyover for malls, then why can't we do it for trees?"

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