The Chennai Corporation is set to charge companies and individuals for putting up banners, advertisements, lightings, wires, and boards on trees. This move is aimed at saving the city's trees. A penalty of Rs. 25,000 will be charged as well as jail time of three years for abusing trees in this manner.
The Greater Chennai Corporation, Commissioner, G Prakash, on Sunday has informed people to remove any banner and board on the trees within 10 days to avoid being charged under Section 326-I of the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919. G Prakash also added that using trees for advertisements is an offense and violators will be penalised. The residents of Chennai can also register complaints of banners hung or nailed onto trees on the Namma Chennai mobile app or call 1913.
Activist and founder of the Nizhal organisation, Shobha Menon, has welcomed this stand taken by the Chennai Corporation. She further encouraged citizens to also report such abuse of trees taking place in their own areas to give the offenders a clear message about how these acts will not be tolerated. Trees play a very important role in cities but the abuse continues, Menon has claimed.
Various Free the Tree Campaigns were set up by an organisation called Nizhal in Chennai, which is involved in planting, nurturing, and caring for trees in the city. The organisation gives citizens an opportunity to stand up for trees and take necessary steps to free them from any form of abuse. Volunteer teams of the organisation have been conducting numerous drives around the city to stop the abuse of trees, by removing nails, boards, and banners from the trees.
Shobha Menon said that nails in trees invite fungus which can shorten the lifespan of the tree due to onset of infections. She also shared that the commercial lights at night confuse the process of photosynthesis which only happens in the morning due to which the health of the tree gets affected.