BENGALURU :A group of young volunteers of ‘Talking Earth’ have started identifying and mapping trees with hashtag symbols to measure the green cover in the city.
Trees in Bengaluru from the past few weeks have been identified with white hashtag marks and residents of the city thought they were going to be chopped by the government for infrastructural projects.
After the steel flyover controversy, trees were being cut excessively. More than 800 trees were being cut as part of the project.
A group of young volunteers under ‘Talking Earth’ have started identifying trees to measure the green cover in the city by a process called tree mapping. Tree mapping is a technique of collecting data about each and every tree. Varun Hemachandran, founder of Talking Earth said, “Tree mapping is done since decades but is done very secretly, it is done by the government itself but either the data is outdated or wrong.”
The group also aims at community engagement, interact with people living in different communities, conduct workshops and get more people from communities involved in the process of tree mapping for making them well aware of their environment. “Tree mapping is a community activity, it is 10% data and 90% community engagement” Mr. Varun added.
The members of Talking Earth have their volunteers in Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. It has
also uploaded details of all mapped trees on http://www.opentreemap.org/map. With 15 volunteers in each city, they carry out the process of tree mapping in each city for 2 months. They began tree mapping in Bengaluru on November 15, 2016 at the site where trees were being cut for the steel flyover by marking trees with a white hashtag symbol on them. Mr. Hemachandran says they used the hashtag symbol for marking trees so that people could recognize them. “Under the detailed project report, the government mentioned that 800 trees were going to be cut for the flyover and 3000 trees would be cut for other upcoming projects” he added.
The group also analyzes data given by the government on upcoming projects that include chopping of trees. “We are fighting different battles in different cities, in Bengaluru it is the government because they have a number of projects that include felling of trees” said Mr. Hemachandran