The sudden epidemic of tree-felling along Kathmandu's streets is drastic, misguided and not consonant with the needs of the population. In an increasingly congested valley, foliage provides both utility and aesthetics. It gives us fresh air that allows us to breathe freely. The role of trees is to introduce oxygen into the atmosphere and to ingest the carbon dioxide that human and mechanical activity spews into our enclosed airspace so prone to inversion. They provide shade to the pedestrian, a demographic category which today is highly neglected by our increasingly motorised urban populace. Tree-lined boulevards and parks are the mark of any civilised society and the colour of leaves and bark have associations in the human mind with the very evolution of the species. Take away the trees from our sight and senses and our very existence suffers.
Trees reach down to the grassroots and hold the soil together, they reach up to the sun and use their chlorophyll corpuscles to convert that energy into food useful to itself and to other animals. The sun and the trees, together with the supportive action of water, soil and air, make possible photosynthesis, the driving mechanism of life on earth. The action of cutting down trees that have lined our streets seems to have been hasty.
True, Kathmandu's poplars and eucalyptus are imports and that they do not have the strength of indigenous varieties. But the fact is that they have provided cover and beauty for a long time now. They have become our own, like so many other exotic species that dot the landscape. It is said that these imports are vulnerable to strong winds due to loose root structures but our analysis shows that the maligned arbours have not been guilty of destruction to the extent that they have to be done away with. All in all, the trees should not have been axed. Because the damage has been done, can we ask the concerned authority to promptly correct the move and bring back greenery?