He also said trees acted as a buffer against flooding.

Salem civic group asks the hottest question this summer Wheres the shade
news Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 19:40

In one of Tamil Nadu’s hottest districts, a civic group is going around with a catchy slogan that asks a pertinent question: “Veppam ingae nizhal yengae?”. It means, ‘It is hot here, where is the shade?’.

Salem's Citizen Forum has been painting this slogan on the roads in front of various government departments not just to embarrass officials, but also to hold a mirror up to the fact that the trees are missing from the city’s landscape. They painted in front of the offices of the police commissioner, Forest Department, Highway department and the Salem Municipal Corporation.

Salem had the highest temperature in Tamil Nadu, recently only Vellore district took over, says Piyush Manush, Founder of the Forum, which works on environmental and human right issues. “Even if contractors have to cut one or two trees for a project, they cut 30 trees,” he says, adding that trees lessened the effects of high temperatures by providing shade.

Although the Forum blames the government for failing to plant trees when existing ones were cut to widen roads and highways, he thinks people can do more.

“When most people build houses they do not leave space for trees and the existing trees die. People complain that trees bring insects to their homes, but they do not understand one tree is equivalent to four air-conditioners,” said Piyush.

He also said trees acted as a buffer against flooding, but absorbing water that would otherwise move towards low-lying areas and collect there. 

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