Pune: Rising Heat Sparks Concerns Over Massive Tree Loss In City

Pune: Rising Heat Sparks Concerns Over Massive Tree Loss In City

Pune: Rising Heat Sparks Concerns Over Massive Tree Loss In City

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Khushi Maheshwari

Pune, April 17, 2024: The scorching heat wave sweeping across Pune has intensified concerns over the loss of green cover in the city, with temperatures soaring to a blistering 43 degrees Celsius in areas like Koregaon Park on April 16th. Despite sporadic thunderstorms offering brief respites, the relentless heat continues to afflict Punekars.

One resident drew attention to the proliferation of steel tree-like structures along Aundh Wakad Road, juxtaposed against a decline in actual trees. This stark reality underscores the critical role of trees in moderating temperatures and maintaining environmental equilibrium, particularly during summer.

Sathya Nataranjan, an environmental activist based in Pune, lamented the rampant tree felling in the guise of development, citing the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act as the solitary safeguard. He criticized municipal authorities for flouting regulations and prioritizing infrastructure over ecological well-being.

Echoing Nataranjan’s concerns, Ameet Singh, another local environmentalist, implicated the city’s road department in exacerbating civic issues like flash floods and waterlogging. Singh decried the relentless pursuit of road construction without adequate provisions for green spaces and permeable surfaces, exacerbating urban flooding and environmental degradation.

Singh emphasized the urgency of prioritizing environmental conservation amidst rapid urbanization, questioning the rationale behind unchecked development in a city grappling with soaring temperatures, air pollution, water scarcity, and waste management challenges.

Mangesh Dighe, an environment officer at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), acknowledged the adverse impacts of urbanization on rising temperatures. Weather expert Dr Anupam Kashyapi noted that the city’s fragmented rainfall patterns in recent days were symptomatic of broader climate disruptions induced by urban sprawl.

As Pune grapples with the escalating heat and its attendant environmental woes, calls for proactive measures to safeguard green spaces and mitigate urban heat islands grow louder among residents and environmental advocates alike.