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Friday, November 12, 2010
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Trees dying in Dhaka

Experts clueless about reasons

The dead trees near Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University in the capital. More than 550 trees in several parts of the city have died in the last four years. The photo was taken recently. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq

The green canopy is shrinking in parts of the capital. More than 550 trees have died while many have fallen into decay in several areas in the last four years.

Nearly 500 trees died in the Bashundhara residential area, 20 around the Baridhara Lake, 25 near the Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University and ten more at the Farmgate Park.

Botanists and soil experts still remain clueless about the reasons behind the death or decay of the trees.

Md Jasim Uddin, associate professor of botany department, Dhaka University, said an extensive study should be conducted to find out the reasons behind the decay of the plants and also the solutions.

Raintrees in some city areas might be decaying due to lack of proper environment or soil problems, he said.

The DU teacher said prior to planting trees in any place experts' opinions should be sought about the appropriate variety of trees.

Prof Shah Mohammad Ullah of soil science department of the university said soil problems or air pollution might be responsible for the deaths of the trees.

Trees could die, if the level of metals such as copper, nickel, lead, cadmium and zinc goes up in the soil, he said. Besides, a rise in sulphuric, nitric, hydrochloric and other types of acid in the air could also cause the leaves of trees to decay.

Trees grow under constraint in industrial areas where air remains highly polluted, he said.

The soil used for filling up lowlands for the Bashundhara Housing Project needs to be analysed to find the reasons behind the death of the trees there, he said.

Prof Mihir Lal Saha of botany department said vascular disease might have caused the deaths of the trees.

Prof Imdadul Hoque of the same department said he along with some other teachers might form a team to conduct a study on it.

Abdul Aziz, a welder working in under-construction buildings in Bashundhara residential area, said around 500 trees including raintrees, eucalyptus, akashmoni and krisnachura died there in the last four years.

Plenty of trees were there on the North South Road in Bashundhara but most of them died in the last six months, said Rafiq, a chauffeur, who used to drive on the road almost every day.

About 25 raintrees died in the last nine months on both sides of the road to the Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University from the Second Gate in Agargaon. Nine more trees (four raintrees, four ekashia and one mango tree) died on the university campus.

Kartik Chandra Bhoumik, a security guard of the university, said some trees on the campus started to decay early this year.

Md Lutfor Rahman, assistant superintendent of the university's farm division, said it is alarming that a significant number of trees have died on the campus.

Promananda Baroi, an employee of the Planning Commission, said a lot of trees were in the area when he settled there 30 years ago. Many of them began to decay in the beginning of this year.

Superintending Engineer of the Dhaka City Corporation Abdur Razzak said roots of some trees do not go deep into the soil. These trees might not get adequate water during the lean period and decay slowly.

The DCC is yet to conduct any study on it, he said.

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I hope it is not due to conspiracy by the opposition political parties going around at the middle of night poisoning those tree in the darkness after making sure power supply is being cut.

: Sheikh Monirul Islam, Opee

With all the waste the various construction companies pile up on streets, it is no wonder the ground is always so dry.



  • Eng.Md.Mehebub Haque
    Friday, November 12, 2010 12:48 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    Urbanization and industrialization are rampant here in Dhaka to destroy the green environment for many years.But the press are not sincere in publishing such kind of issue.They have to play more strategic role to draw the attention of the authority concerned.

    Deforestation is a burning question in the present context of the country as cutting down trees are going on a large scale across the country.I think the DCC has to launch many programmes highlighting the importance of tree-plantation in the city to cope up with the environment that getting worse day by day.

    Many socio-cultural organisation should come forward to making aware the future generation arranging elaborate programme in the school,college and university.

  • Friday, November 12, 2010 12:51 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    maybe, toxic in underground water

  • Anonymous
    Friday, November 12, 2010 12:59 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    This is happening due to the negligence of the government. It should pay more attention to its environment.

  • dr reza khan- a nature lover
    Friday, November 12, 2010 01:08 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    First and foremost- trees mentioned in the report are all exotics. Raintree, Mahogany, Shegun, Copperpod, Sisso and Richerder Koroi or Bideshi GorjonAlbizia richardiana that dot city streets are foreign trees. Such trees cannot remain alive for long. All living forms have limited life expectancy. These trees are no exception. However, as far as I have seen no tree in Dhaka City is watered excepting the ornamental and seasonal plants.

    There must be a proper department with trained manpower who could take care of the city trees like animals in zoos and plants in botanical gardens.

    Any field biologist would point to the lack of subsoil water, minerals and trace elements in and around a planted tree, excessive air and dust pollution that covers leaf and bark surfaces thereby stopping the plants from having proper gaseous exchanges. As nobody takes care of the city trees soil around each tree gets so compacted that no air or even water can penetrate such tough soil. A farmer ploughs his field for this simple reason that is lacking not only for city plants but also those in Dhaka Botanical gardens.

    I think govt should immediately remove all dead, dying and sick trees. Replace all exotic trees from the city with indigenous avenue trees such as Bot, Pakur, Joga Dumur, Debdaru, Shimul, Deshi Koroi, Aam, Jam, Dhaki Jam, Uri Aam, Bazna, Telshoor, Buddha Narikel, Jarul, Kanthal, Gab, Dewa/Lakooch, Chapalish, Gorjon, Hijol, Tomal, Kul, Baruna, Jaga Dumur, Khoksha, Pitali, Jika/JiolBhadi, Hargoza, Sheora, Putrajiva, Gamari, Chalita, Bahera, Amloki, Horitoki, Bohora and Muli Bansh, Bent, Tal, Supari, Narikel, wild palms, etc.

    All city trees must be taken care of by a proper department to be responsible for city beautification with proper scientists, including plant pathologists, soil scientists, botanists and horticulturists as well urban planning architects.

  • Rafique Ahmed, MD, PhD, FACC
    Friday, November 12, 2010 02:22 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    This is not an uncommon problem in urban areas. When there is too much construction around a tree the roots are mamaged. Usually the tree roots spread beyond the spread of the branches of that tree and any disturbance in that area may cause the trees to die. It usually takes several years for the trees to die once they get choked. If you investigate you will find that most of the trees that have died are surrounded by concrete construction around them.

    Rafique Ahmed, MD, PhD, FACC

    Baltimore, USA

  • imtiaz Risha
    Friday, November 12, 2010 04:35 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    It does hurt to see the trees are dying. This is just an indication how polluted the environment is. The first point of investigation should be testing the soil surrounding the root zone. The soil testing parameters should include TPH,BTEX,Heavy metals, PAH, OPP, OCP, PCB. I also wonder if there is any petrol pump or similar establishment around that could leak petroleum hydrocarbon and other associated contaminants.

  • safkat
    Friday, November 12, 2010 05:56 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    Its natural for old trees to die, we need to plant 3 for every 1.

    Besides lack of water, minerals in soil, or even chemicals in soil, for instance a lot of cement has chemical substance in it, to stop tree roots growing around or infiltrating them. Too much off this chemical can kill vegetation around it.

    We need trees to stop arsenic level rising.

    Protect us from storm

    Reduce heat and humidity

    Reduce salination

    Reduce salt level in water and soil

    To stop soil errosion

    To maintain underground stream/river mineral composition level

    And to reduce UV rays

    And not to mention gives us oxygen and reduce green house emission and overall Co2 level

  • Haq
    Friday, November 12, 2010 07:22 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    Do we have to go far to look for the cause? Is it not evident that trees cannot survive in the world's most polluted city, that Dhaka is? The areas mentioned here are the only places with trees in Dhaka and all others are cleared to build human habitation, so we can say that whole city is polluted and unfit for any life form. Some areas are denuded in the name of security like west of New Market and Manik Miah Avenue in the past. Human beings are either dying early or surviving with poor health condition.

  • Dr. Mahboob Hissain
    Friday, November 12, 2010 07:54 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    In our house near Zigatola bus stand trees are dying after we allowed to install a phone tower at the top of the roof. It is unlikely that soil condition is the reason of tree in Dhaka because trees are growing in the same places for hundreds of years, Only things changed are air and radiation from tower.

  • Friday, November 12, 2010 08:23 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    There are a few reasons

    1-lacking underground water-as water being pumped out for human uses.

    2-acid rain -due to environmental pollution

    3-lack of soil-Dhaka city has become a concrete city-these trees need soil and water to grow and live healthy.

    Trees will keep decaying and fall victims of human lust as long as people keep building houses all over the city.

  • Hafeejul Alam
    Friday, November 12, 2010 08:29 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    The shrinking of green canopy should be studied and researched by the botanists of our universities and adequate measures taken. We all know that the trees are environment friendly and clean our air. However, at a certain point they may get exhausted. To me, it appears that the trees of Dhaka has been the sad victims of massive air pollution. The government as well as the concerned NGOs should come forward to save our ecosystem.

  • shiblu
    Friday, November 12, 2010 08:36 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    It is really distressing. At the beginning of my SAU life, i saw a lot of trees around SAU. today, there are no green except little. So we should aware about this and trying to do something to keep our country green.

  • Nag
    Friday, November 12, 2010 08:55 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    I feel like that very dangerous something has happened to Dakha's environment. We should find it as soon as possible.

  • tawheed noor
    Friday, November 12, 2010 09:27 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    just started a new day but with a sad news. we need some soothing scenario for our respite. i think it will sound silly to someone. because we need tree for more serious reasons. i am leaving them with the experts. i am urging for green trees only to take resort in them from this mechanical world. So, please find out the reason behind it

  • Hamid
    Friday, November 12, 2010 09:32 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    Is it yet time for us to wake up ?!

  • Jogu
    Friday, November 12, 2010 10:10 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    They are injecting pesticide into the trees. That is the sure way to kill them.

  • Sohel Ahmed
    Friday, November 12, 2010 11:25 AM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    This needs an investigation by the botany department of DU. Chopping down branches are also to be blamed. The branches which are causing problem to the electric wire needs to be sawed wrapped after trimming instead of being chopped down. Like any living thing, the trees needs care as well which is missing in Bangladesh. We have seen the lower end of tress are either being cemented or put under 5-6 feet of sand in different part of the city. If the people of this city do not love the city as their own, this will keep happening and Illiteracy, unawareness is also to be blamed for this unwanted situation. We should plant tress where ever their is land and try to nurse them until they are 3-4 years old.

  • dr.prince
    Friday, November 12, 2010 04:25 PM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    There are several causes for decaying trees in Dhaka recently. One important cause is overpopulation and thereby pollution of natural environment. Government should search root of overpopulation in the capital.

  • A Haque
    Friday, November 12, 2010 01:46 PM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    Couldn't the reason simply be that the ground water level has fallen, and tree roots cannot reach water throughout the year anymore?

  • Nahid
    Friday, November 12, 2010 03:34 PM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    It's the nature that reminds us how polluted the Dhaka city is?

  • Monzur
    Saturday, November 13, 2010 02:54 PM GMT+06:00 (274 weeks ago)

    People want to make this city a concrete jungle.Who can stop the process? After few decades you won't see trees, water bodies.You won't see people with kind heart.Only concrete structues would remain.





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