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The Tree of Life to the Sounds of Silence

The Tree of Life

From Ancient Vedas (5000 yrs.), to Ancient manuscripts of Knowledge, stored in various forms round the world- Trees were revered, as God’s Gift to this World, NOT ONLY, for the purification of the air we breathe, through Photosynthesis; the ‘Sink Action’ of Trees- absorbing heat, CO2, reducing air pollutants, absorbed thru root systems- toxic gases below ground, filtration of surface water run offs, down Tap Root systems and ‘Hydraulic Lift’- pulling back up, thru Tap Roots, from deep underground, water stored during Monsoons, to feed subsurface carpet of roots( hence we experience Natures’ coolness in a Tree Grove).


(Tree Saplings, staked and cared for, Lumpini Park, Bangkok)

Most Important of God’s Gift – Nature’s Sounds.

Sights, sounds and smell is vital for our soul and inner wellbeing and health. Absorbed by our Consciousness, without realising. Hear soft music/ nature’ sounds in an ICU room? Imagine a World without Trees and God’s Gifts- like Easter Island- a Polynesian island in the southwest Pacific Ocean, part of Chile. Negative effect of biotic pressure by Citizens.

Wikipedia – Deforested the island, in the process of creating and transporting their 887, Monumental Statues ‘MOAI’ (1100- 1680 AD). Disappearance of the island’s Trees seems to coincide with decline of RAPA NUI Civilization @ 18 Century. No wood, no new fishing vessels- no fish. Birds over harvested. People malnutrition- exposed ribs and no nesting place. Cannibalism. Self defence? Living in dugouts / caves to avoid being eaten by each other. Peak population @ 15000 in year 1800 AD, declined to 2000-3000 in year 1722 AD, European arrivals.

2(Bangkok, clean streets with Creeper plants on trellis, fixed on support Columns of local Metro Rail)

These are Concepts, Ideas and Solutions, that even a 4-year-old child can understand.

When the Mother of a 4-year-old Son- connects – Asthma of her son and the relief- Vacuum of Street/ subsoil water, of Pollutants by Green Trees cover. The mother generates an unstoppable disruptive force for change. From Village elders, to Lawmakers, to Sanctioning and Regulatory Authorities throughout India- demanding for Clean, Natural Air/ water for her son. As a fundamental right.

When the sick and the Old make the connection- between Nature’s Sounds and their inner Wellbeing. There is a parallel force for change, moving at the speed of the Internet. This is a ‘ made in India ’. Ancient Concepts and Solutions, relevant in the Modern World, for the well being of every child and Adult on this planet.

Welcome to Real World Practices. By local Municipality, Mumbai.


(Ram Mandir Temple, Pavement. S.V. Road, Borivli-w, Mumbai)

Neither the Tree Authority nor their outsourced Tree ‘pruning’ Contractors, have any Educational Qualifications, specific to Tree Maintenance, pruning and practices.It is like a pass class, MBBS, confidently doing brain surgery, on a loved one.No transparency on funds allocation and projects undertaken for scientific Tree maintenance and nurture, for years. RTI’ came back with vague replies.

So the next time, you see an old healthy tree being needlessly hacked. Please do not walk away. Stop. Ask questions of the Tree cutters. Why cut? Ask to be shown, the Municipal specific Tree permit and job order, as most mature trees are numbered. Take a photo with your phone, of the Tree, being cut with workers. Dial 100, giving location. If old trees go into shock, they may not recover- we lose.

Twitter and ‘social media’ the offence. Then maybe, just maybe, We, you and I , together can stop the rape of our precious Trees. Hacked for Commercial value- being sold as a cheap ‘free’, alternative to coal. In demand by Crematoriums, Brick Kilns, Open Blast furnaces, etc. At the cost of the Health of every Citizen of Mumbai, for generations to come.


(Divine Homes, next to Mary Immaculate School, Borivli-w, Mumbai.)

Maharashtra Preservation of Trees Act 1975- penalty for chopping includes a minimum fine of Rs. 1000 and a maximum of Rs. 5000 WITH imprisonment from a week to a year.I have never seen anyone actually charged- fined AND put in prison! Have you?


(Divine Homes, opp. St Francis School playground, Borivli-w, Mumbai.)

‘Plantation Drives’ are mostly a ‘photo ops’ event. A Copper Pod Tree/ Red Mayflower (Peltophorum Pterocarpum) sapling, with sustained care and pruning, takes approx. 5 years to first bloom and a further 5 years to self-sustaining maturity. Hence the chances of the Tree cover being ’renewed’ are very slim. If our existing old trees, with no proper care and nurture, are brutally hacked. That’s it. We get a landscape like ’Easter Island’.

Mumbai will have one of the World’s dirtiest Air (present no.1- Delhi at 153 micrograms per cubic meter – WHO Survey 2013). Invisible PM2.5 (Particulate matter particles <2.5 micrometers & called ‘fine’ particles), that embed forever in our Lung sacs and trigger Asthma & COPD attacks, respiratory diseases and Cardiovascular diseases- heart attacks, strokes. (www.epa.gov/airnow ).

Mumbai’ Citizens will turn seriously sick. A shocking event, rape of our trees, repeated all over India, over and over again. Without remorse.

A 35 year old Copper pod Tree with a healthy 12” dia , 30’ long  vertical branch- hacked! Without proper reason !


(Pavement of Mary Apartments)


(I.C. Colony, Rd. 03, Mount Poinsur)


(Borivli west, Mumbai- 400103)

The answer is to give, less importance to ‘grow more’ and more importance to saving, nurturing our existing Tree cover and a dynamic Environment. All over India.

It entails our Municipalities, Law and Order Organisations and Sponsors being more proactive, protecting and actively promoting, a clean, green, Vibrant Environment and Commerce.

The Swiss Government passed it’s first ever Plant Bill of Rights. Plants have moral and legal Protection. (www.viewzone.com/plants).




(Clean and Environmentally friendly street Hawkers, Bangkok)

It entails Corporates (Banks, Private Firms, etc), as part of CSR, adopt areas in their Sales / Catchment areas of operation, to protect and Nurture existing Tree Cover and actively innovate and promote, for a Clean and Green, Eco Friendly Environment. Lord Buddha sat under the ‘Bodhi’ (Pepul  tree). Enlightenment? Blessings- Tree releases Oxygen at night- sleep healthy, sleep well.

(Clean and Green Streets with innovation. Bangkok)

It entails Schools, Colleges and Educational Institutions, adding a Vedic Course study, on Plant and Tree Systems, Environmental Laws and Trees Protection and Maintenance methods. Sir Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose, his invention of the ‘Crescograph’, electrically measuring, the nervous system of plants, plant Physiology and that plants and trees suffer pain, respond to caring and have an almost psychological response to human interaction. The Vedic belief ‘in the Unity of all things in Nature’.

As well as, Off-beat fun things, in sustaining projects to enrich and bring a smile to the Neighborhood, as part of Social Awareness and Responsibility, helping Citizens to a richer, fuller & healthier lives.


(Street Art Talent. Corporate Shopping/ Movie Malls Sponsored. Bringing a smile & inspiration to an everyday harried working life. Bangkok)

It entails planning and implementing, green, cost effective, alternate modes of city commute. Less pressure and pollution on our existing transportation systems- Roads, rail, bus and vehicular Traffic.
ELU (Existing Land Use Plans), uploaded by local Municipalities, for alternate transportation systems.

(Efficient, low cost, water transportation system. Bangkok.)

We as Indians, need to stop being passive, but active campaigners for an Environment in partnership with Nature, to give us Citizens – green and healthy Trees, clean Beaches, Vibrant Mangroves and Forests, clean renewable water bodies, interlaced with a Transparent, Vibrant, law abiding, self governing Economy. We are one Nation, one Environment – let’s not squander God’s gifts to mankind.

kphoto Contributing Editor and sounding board – my daughter, Karen Stacy Williams.


PET POOP – Nuisance Value, Public Places and Streets – a Six Sigma Solution

In keeping with – Swacch Bharat Abhiyan / Saaf Aangan – keeping Mumbai’ streets, air and water clean.There was a great article in Mumbai Mirror, page 06, Monday, 08 December 2014.


Unfortunately there was silence on a practical implementation policy!

May I suggest and elaborate, with the help of Six Thinking Hats applied in Six Sigma.It is only with the active participation of all the stakeholders involved in the situation, can one hope to have, the Saaf Aangan / Swacch Bharat Abhiyan drive, succeed.

But first, you have to TEACH INDIA – Keep India Clean.

clean street1

A massive drive – Educate the common Man, to the benefits – for self, family and visiting friends and Relatives from other states or countries, on WHY he should keep his surroundings clean. How does keeping his surroundings clean, Benefits ’HIM’?

Secondly, let Society at large and citizens in particular, manage and Police their day-to-day matters. Regulatory Authorities, should only act as an oversight & levy authority. Less Government, more good Governance.

Nuts and Bolts:

  • Practically Every Pet Owner, lives in an Apartment?  Has the Building Society Managing Committee Approval, in writing, been taken to keep a Pet in your home? Yearly?
  • Is there a dedicated, Built-up place (sand pit), for each Building Society’ Pets to deface? Municipal Authorities permission for size and upkeep requirement standards? Managing committee levy a fee for maintaining/ disinfecting the sand trap. Municipal Authorities awards ‘Clean Green Tag’- on a yearly basis.
  • After defacing you may wish to take your Pet, on the Road, for a walk – with spare Plastic bag and scoop handy? Does your Pet have a Regulatory License and a current Veterinary certificate? The license could be as simple as a Registration Number (like a Motor Vehicle), on top face of the Flea Repellent Collar, with waterproof pouch for Certificate.

This approach, to regulating the Pet population serves two purposes. Census Data with Healthy Pets and Elimination (through donating for research)/ relocating the stray street Animals to Citizens who wish to adopt and take care of them.

Only then, we can escalate to the stick approach and widen the scope of the program.

Use of telescopic rates and fines for repeat offenders – animal Owners / street and slum dwellers. After fines have been levied thrice on the same person, for the same offence- Public Nuisance (Environment) Charges under Laws- Sec 268 r/w 290 of IPC of 1976. And enforced strictly!

Offer a Reward (percentage of the fine to be levied), for the Public’ Participation / Environmental Policing! Requirement for reward? Clear Photographs with date and time / offence location real time with Person’ name and address. Upload on website, created for it. Docket number is given. User ID and password created for it. The Reporter remains anonymous. Drop point for reward modalities. Flying squads, from the police or municipality can be deployed. The fines collected, can be used to self-fund the drive with long-term improvements.

Invite Prominent Citizens and Personalities (TV / Screen), SPEAK INDIA, on the subject. There are also micro bogging sites and Social Media- Broadcast the virtues and the stick.

It is worthwhile to compare, how crowded Singapore, with a Tropical Climate, large, poor migrant population is able to keep its streets and the environment clean and malaria free. Thus solving the problem, with minimum outlay and maximum gains. It is a very long-term program. Therefore, Sponsors and Regulatory Authorities, have to stay committed, long term –  to evolve and innovate with changing times and climate.

Swacch Bharat Abhiyan , will be a huge, evolving success and showcase to the World


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Some Solutions for our Trees plight and Benefits to us

The ‘West’ including Thailand use: 

A.   Scientific Tree Maintenance and Pruning Practices

e.g one of the best illustrations is by American Horticulture Specialist Curtis W. Smith’s, article in http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu

B.   GPR article, in http://www.treeradar.com

 (Ground Penetrating Radar, for diagnostics- internal 

trunk decay and subsurface structural root mapping).

Together with professional Arborists and very severe punishments, for citizens who break the Law, vide Tree Conservation and Maintenance, Laws and Acts.


It is – Air Purification of Trees, Photosynthesis (Purify Ground water, vide filtration of surface water runoffs down Tap Root sys, absorbing approx, 4.5kg Air Pollutants/ produce 120 kg of O2 per year, per Tree, and its cooling effect, reducing a/c bills by 15-50%) and the ‘Sink action of trees’ absorbing heat, Co2 and reducing air pollutants. Below ground level-absorbing toxic gases.


Ever wondered, why it is cool and ground moist in a Tree Grove, at the height of Summer- drought times?

Trees store excess food (water + nutrients), deep underground, for times of Drought- hot, dry summer.

Squirrels (nuts), Mammals and Humans (extra layer of fat), save for cold, barren winter.

Trees/ Forests allow Rainwater percolate to underground Reservoirs/ Rivers, via deep tap root systems. In drought, via ‘Hydraulic Lift’ water is pulled, back up, to feed sub surface roots!

Our ancient ancestors knew and harvested this ‘Gift’, in moderation, during drought.

Today a Tree Grove, keeps the ground and Air cool – a Natural a/c!

So with deep tap roots, Tall Trees surroundings, do we need spend electric power for a/c’s?

 Need support of all Citizens, to create awareness of our Tree’ Rights, Plight, Problems, and benefits.

Citizens, who care, for Nature, the Environment, its Preservation in India, especially in Cities, need to use above solutions, benefits and BE THE CHANGE.


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Our City Trees Plight and Problems

All living entities, thrive, grow and live stress free, in an environment of Love, Compassion and Caring.
Trees are Living entities too. I used to always wonder, why roadside trees in Mumbai, have grotesque growth, shapes, look under stress and sick.

I have seen how trees are cared from California,
to London, to Bangkok to Perth …
to name just a few.

Bangkok, Lumphini Park more than 4 yrs old saplings, still staked, pruned for orderly Natural growth

Bangkok, Lumphini Park more than 4 yrs old saplings, still staked, pruned for orderly Natural growth

Then I compared them visually with trees in Mumbai.

The eureka moment and the full magnitude of the problem came slowly creeping on me. It exploded,
when I saw, Men from the Conservatory- Tree Authority Department, ‘PRUNE’ Trees!

I C Colony Main Road 02. Tree 'pruned' due inconvenience of 'bird dropping' on cars and pedestrians. Photo 18 Dec 2013

I C Colony Main Road 02. Tree ‘pruned’ due inconvenience of ‘bird dropping’ on cars and pedestrians. Photo 18 Dec 2013

In total Ignorance of Scientific Pruning. Having never planted and nurtured, trees in their lives blissfully order 30-year-old trees to be ‘hacked’,

because: A. Tree branches, intruding into road facing Apartment Windows, and as no lift available and Tree Cutter is too lazy to climb high up with safety rope, to cut just those branches intruding into the windows.
So, he cuts thick stems from the low main trunk.
What’s the impact? Trees go into stress mode, with diseased limbs and wild re-growth of water sprouts. Cut again and again, new branches become a Road Safety hazard… Ultimately the tree either dies or taken on an unnatural shape and form.

B. Over-Road, branches are cut down, due to:
• Perceived ‘road hazard’ and for ‘safety’ of pedestrian property.
• ‘Bird droppings’ falling on pedestrians, hawker’s wares and parked cars. So ‘permanently’ solve the problem. Cut low.

6 storey’s Copper Pod tree, front of Corporation Bank, Royal Tower, I.C. Colony, Borivli. (Pic - 24 Jan 2013, 12:55pm. Prior to hacking)

6 storey’s Copper Pod tree, front of Corporation Bank, Royal Tower, I.C. Colony, Borivli. (Pic – 24 Jan 2013, 12:55pm. Prior to hacking)

• Hey! There is ‘no sunlight’ coming into my lower, apartment windows. So thin out, high tree branches.
• Hey again! There is ‘no view of the Road Pavement’ below, from my high-rise apartment, to check on my car parked on the Road. So cut the low tree branches.

Same Copper Pod Tree 2 storey’s tall. 'Pruned' due to loss of sunlight  & inconvenience of 'bird droppings' on cars and pedestrians. (Pic taken on 18 Dec 2013.

Same Copper Pod Tree 2 storey’s tall. ‘Pruned’ due to loss of sunlight & inconvenience of ‘bird droppings’ on cars and pedestrians. (Pic taken on 18 Dec 2013.

C. During repairs and resurfacing of the road pavements, concrete is poured close to, or around the
trunk of old trees. Strangulating and suffocating it. There is “Not Enough” water percolating down,

through the tap root system … So… Tree root system, relocates to predominantly surface roots, under concrete.

Sick and under stress, branches/ Trunk, rots and so either dies, breaks or topples in high wind or Rain.
The plight of our Trees? Ask our Caretakers.
We love to import ‘Western clothes, Appliances, Cars, etc.’ …
How about importing Tree Care and Maintenance, Science, Ideas, Equipment and Procedures?
If a relatively ‘poor’ country, like Thailand, can shower, so much love and care for their Trees … surely, Mumbai City can do better !

Solutions to ‘Our City Trees Plight and Problems’ in the next article