Many of you reached home about an hour late yesterday, because an African Baobab tree was uprooted near the Sardar Bridge. The newspaper I read daily seems to think that trees are therefore, a threat to civic life. The last line of the article said that “There are nearly 50 such African baobab trees in the city.” Is the threat then multiplied fifty times? Let us find out for ourselves.
The media can shape the way you think, for good or for bad. Your EVS and Biology textbooks have told you of the vital part played by trees in the ecological cycle. You know that life would have been impossible on earth, had it not been for the oxygen cycle maintained by trees and plants, and for the food manufactured by them through photosynthesis.
I, personally, have always admired the trees along the Surat roads, where SMC has created pockets in the concrete pavements or tarmac roads. Their graceful green foliage waving in the wind is very restful to the eyes in the midst of our concrete jungle of a city.
The African Baobabs are immigrant settlers in Surat, probably brought here by Gujaratis who travelled abroad. Baobabs are some of the longest living trees, surviving from 500 to 1000 years. Yet, one of these trees died, yesterday, uprooted because its roots could find no grip in the tarmac and concrete surrounding it. The road is constantly dug up for maintenance or for new building construction, further damaging the roots of trees which become weakened. You know that roots have to get a deep and wide grip on the soil, not just for balance but also for nutrition. Our city life, however, is not friendly to trees. If you notice closely, our so-called progressive modern lifestyles are very anti-birds/animals and anti-nature. Please think about this.
If you are tree-lovers like I am, then perhaps, you will spare a minute to mourn for one more Surat tree sacrificed to urban exigency, one more loss of our natural heritage.