As part of a unique initiative, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has appointed an arborist, commonly known as a tree surgeon, to assess old trees in Mumbai. Vaibhav Raje has been appointed to study around 100-150 in BMC's D-ward, which includes areas like Malabar Tardeo and Peddar Road etc.
His job would be to study the trees and suggest ways to protect them from falling, as part of a pilot project. BMC's decision to appoint an arborist or arboriculturist came against the backdrop of concerns over climate change.
Climate change affects the weather condition in Mumbai, which depends on the environment of the Arabian Sea. According to some reports, the Arabian Sea has seen an increase in cyclones in the last few years. These cyclones hit the coast of Mumbai and cause havoc, and claim lives. Protecting the old trees in the city would help prevent disasters.
What is the job of an arborist?
An arborist is a person whose job is to take care of trees and analyse trees for fungal infection, decay or anything that makes the tree vulnerable.
While explaining what his job is, Vaibhav Raje said that often during floods, heavy rainfall, or for other reasons, trees tend to fall due to decaying trunks, fungal infection or loose roots, which cannot be seen from the outside.
Therefore, an arborist is appointed in advance to assess the trees that may cause accidents, and prevent them from falling. He further elaborated that at first physical attributes of the trees are recorded. Then they search for structural, physiological weaknesses, presence of any decay or disease, check the condition of the soil and roots, along with the condition of the site where the tree is growing.
Arborists get a base map on the trees under high-risk and low-risk and then build a road map to work on the trees. Raje also expressed how happy he was that people have started understanding the importance of arborists. "Nowadays, people are understanding the value of arboriculture. I am happy to work for Mumbai and other parts of the country too," he said as reported by The Hindustan Times.
Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar said that decision on whether the project needs to be expanded to other areas in Mumbai would be taken after analysing the result.
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