Udaipur : While the gulf countries are getting rid of the beautiful Damas trees for the menace and harms it is causing to the people and environment, in Udaipur, they are seen in plenty, prospering along the roadsides. Experts have warned the authorities of the ugly side of these shady trees as their roots can penetrate deep into the ground causing considerable damage to the walls, drains and pipe lines and can lead to a huge spike in water consumption. In his letter to the Udaipur Municipal Corporation and the collector, activist Mahesh Sharma has urged to uproot these trees that was planted between the dividers on almost all the wide roads of the city.
The plantation of imported alien species instead of indigenous ones can be harmful and their community planting can cause seasonal and pollen allergies. ” They are fast growing, inexpensive and green all year round. Conocarpus lancifolius or erectus, commonly known as Damas (Conocarpus) trees, line gardens throughout our community. However, a few realise the long term risks associated with these trees. People in Dubai, Umm Al Kuwain, AbuDhabi etc have shared terrible experiences of exhorbitant monthly utility bills, due to errant tree roots breaking into pipes wasting litres of water, massive cracks in house and villa boundaries walls and broken interlock pathways” Sharma says. ” I discussed it with the learned Mayor few days back and he too was of the view that even birds do not perch on them” he said. Sharma also expressed discontent on the UMC act of felling trees on roadsides of the city for widening project. ” They felled the local trees which were suitable for our ecosystem and growing alien species that are harmful, he claimed.“
Damas is native to coastal areas of Somalia, Djibouti and Yemen. The species – which can grow up to 18 metres tall is found throughout Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and South Asia. Because of its relative tolerance to heat, drought and salt, the tree is particularly popular in gulf countries. Gardeners and landscapers plant them as a quick solution to providing shade or as a barrier to strong winds. But now they are being felled in large number due to many problems” Jyoti Mathur, an expert in horticulture informs.“
Instead of growing trees that are not native to India, governments should pick indigenous varieties that grow and thrive well in Indian conditions. Trees such as Tamarind, Ashoka, Neem, Peepal, Mahogani, Arjun, Bishop wood, Bahera, Kanak Champa are hardy and stand pollution abuse, are easy to grow and possess all qualities for making them suitable for city plantation” Shalini Sood, a Botany lecturer opined.