The moment someone says Chennai, the thought immediately goes to popular screen legend, the one and only Rajnikant. One doesn’t think of what was formerly, Madras.

Perhaps now is the time to broaden our horizons, at least a little bit. When it’s Chennai, one should think of maybe, a sheer dearth of trees.

Believe it or not- but according to the latest study published in leading Indian journals and media outlets- there is just a solitary tree for every 33 persons residing in Chennai.

If this isn’t an environmental travesty for one of the leading and most talked-about cities of India, then what will ever be?

In an age where humans are constantly colliding with technology, could it be that we are turning a blind eye to the environment? Maybe, the cities have had enough of our self-imposed slumber. Maybe, there’s a sense in waking up and taking cognizance of the chaos.

For a city that is constantly buzzing, much largely due to a lively food and lifestyle culture, there being no dearth of shopping malls and arcades, festivals and a traditional blend of southern cinema and its fanfare- Chennai isn’t doing enough for the environment.

In fact, it’s not doing anything conducive to support its own berated lungs. To have just 1 tree for 33 residents is in no way celebratory and calls upon urgent state-driven introspection as to what might be done to rectify a fundamental flaw in the ‘green’ of things.

Enough with schemes, enough of residential colonies, plush shopping galleries and a climate dipped in an enormity of temples and religious junctions. To sustain life, one needs greenery, not films, food-courts, or any other item of gloss from the associated paraphernalia.

Deccan Chronicle

Isn’t it?

Of course, Times of India’s report on the leading rather burning issue of Chennai at this point in time poses questions at an acute problem:

Each person in Chennai has just 0.46sqm of open space and there is only one tree for every 33 people on the city’s roads.

That is not all. There is a reason to believe that the situation may only worsen in the times lying ahead. Implicit to every city’s survival and breath is the sheer spread or density of its green-cover, which in turn represents an assortment of trees and plants.

For Chennai, the matter of thinking is far from over. Apparently, according to a report submitted by Care Earth Trust- it’s been found that Chennai’s green cover is reducing by 2 per cent every year. The same finding has been shared with the city’s revered Chennai Greater Corporation.

So what can it do about reviving the city’s barely existing green cover? In fact, are the cities youngsters, adults and the elderly population who frequent malls, corporate offices, spend time in botanical gardens and other places even aware of the gravity of the situation?

Maybe, one cannot contend with great satisfaction. An elaborate survey was undertaken by a retired IFS official (Mr Balaji) along with the Care Earth Trust and the duo would later survey avenue trees on 450 streets spread across the otherwise vibrant city within the corporation area.

Only then were the findings estimated and later, submitted to the concerned body as shared above.

The detailed report submitted also includes a reason to make plans for increasing Chennai’s green cover. Speaking in relation to his conclusive evidence regarding the state or density of trees in Chennai, Mr Balaji shared the following: “The Availability of open space varied from zone to zone. In Tiruvottiyur, Sholinganallur and Manali, a lot of available green space was not developed. But since the roads are narrow and underdeveloped, there is limited tree cover. We have done an exclusive study in all zones and divisions and have suggested on where trees should be planted and where parks developed.”

The onus for improving Chennai’s burgeoning crisis now rests in the hands of the authority entrusted with the task of improving the city’s condition. The question is- how early can one experience change?

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