Somedays ago, it was on the news that the Bahauddin Zakariya University campus is being exposed to environmental degradation with the large-scale tree cutting which has caused concern among the teachers and the student.
Criticising the BZU administration’s move, a number of students demand an immediate ban on cutting of trees on the university campus to save them from the effects of harsh weather. The practice, is being carried out for the last two years.
The university administration has cut down trees which were even more than 30 years old on the pretext of removing eucalyptus trees and introducing local varieties to avoid “a lot of problems”.
Director State Management and In-charge Arboriculture Dr Altaf Dasti said eucalyptus trees were eradicated from the campus on the direction of the Punjab government as the eucalyptus reduces the underground water level and is not useful compared to most indigenous trees.
“Birds do not build nests in the eucalyptus as it is a straight tree and they do not feel secure under it and, thus, do not allow other indigenous trees to grow,” he said.
The felling of hundreds of trees over two years worried the teachers and the students who said the administration should stop planting eucalyptus rather than cutting a large number of trees at a time when there was no replacement.
“The campus is giving an ugly look without trees”
Trees absorb heat and carbon dioxide and play a crucial role in climate regulation. Besides oxygen, they release moisture that returns to the earth in the form of rain. It was being observed that mass cutting of trees in the university had led to higher temperatures since last year and it also leads to less rain.
The trees were being chopped off in the name of the construction of two new hostels, one each for boys and girls.
“Tree-felling is absolutely not necessary to build hostels as there is enough space to construct such facilities.”
“It is outrageous that the university which boasts of being environment-friendly is actually chopping the trees off,”
“We condemn cutting of trees. We are planning to protest against the massive killing of trees and will ensure that the practice is stopped forthwith,”
Academic Staff Association said, the eucalyptus trees should be removed, but cutting them in such a way was not a right decision. He said the place of hostels could be changed.
Hundreds of trees worth millions had been cut down and they were not auctioned properly. The record of trees planted in the university has gone missing.
But according to the forest department procedure, numbers can be put only on those trees that are planted at roadsides and the administration has the record of only those trees.
The university on the other hand, denied cutting of trees other than eucalyptus, and said the hostels were being constructed at the place earmarked in the university’s master plan.
Although I am against the plantation of eucalyptus trees but the trees shouldn’t be chopped off from the university campus like that way.
MULTAN, April 23: Dawn