Even though Manipur is located at one of the biodiversity rich region of the world, roadside tree plantation in the state is in worst possible condition. World over, selection of trees for roadside plantation is regarded as important task for beautification of the cities and sub-urbans. Eucalyptus and Bottlebrush are common species that are used for roadside tree plantation in the most part of the Imphal valley especially in Imphal City. In the heart of Imphal City, these two alien species are planted on either side of the road near Kangla Fort. Eucalyptus is native of Australia and grows in dry lands. The species draws water quickly and led to drying of drains and ponds. This species is widely used for encroaching lakes like Loktak and Pumlen. Eculaytpus tree are planted near the lakes to dry up the peripheral areas, which were later on converted to rice fields and fish farms. This illegal practice should be checked at the earliest to avoid man-made shrinking of these natural heritages of Manipur. Due to continuous sucking of water content of the soil by this quick growing species, the cracks start appearing on roads especially on stretch of the Tiddim Road. Pollen grains of these two species ie, Eucalyptus and Bottlebrush causes allergies to skin, eyes and bronchitis. These two species should be avoided as roadside tree plantation in our state to avoid water shortage in city and sub-urbans and other health related ailments. Concerned departments like Forest Department, Environment Wing and Horticultural departments should encourage plantation of indigenous evergreen tree species.
Khuraijam Jibankumar is Founder and Managing Trustee, NECEER, Imphal