PIL to remove high tension wires and lighting wrapped on trees: Bombay HC issues notice

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Court has been told that these rights are disorienting and disrupting for wildlife and birds, especially migratory birds

The Bombay High Court has issued notice in a PIL seeking directions to remove high tension cables, wires, lighting and signposts over trees in Mumbai, Thane and Mira Bhayander that have been draped, wrapped, installed or otherwise placed on trees.

A further direction has been sough to raise public awareness about these acts being impermissible under Section 8 of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act,1975 and must be curbed forthwith due to its detrimental impact on trees.

Concerned state authorities may further be directed to constitute a committee with its representatives and environmental experts and civil society representatives, to ensure that such high tension cables, wires, lighting and sign posts are not illegally installed on
trees, particularly during festive seasons.

Filed by one Rohit Manohar Joshi, the petition submits that such lighting and wrapping of wires is detrimental to insects, mammals and birds during their nest building, roosting and other activities.

"These lights and cables appear are evidently wrapped tightly across the trunk and branches of trees and are also draped across the branches of trees. The lights are not only decorative fairy lights and LED strips but are also flood lights mounted on trees....While most of such lighting appeared initially to be installed for temporary festivals and religious holidays, however, the Petitioner has been disturbed to note that in some locations such lighting appears to be presented as a permanent attraction...", the petition submits.

Filed through Advocate Ronita Bhattacharya, the plea adds that such lighting can be seen on Malabar Hill, Walkeshwar, Breach Candy and Andheri, where stretches of trees spanning several metres have been lit up for several months.

It has been further submitted that birds and the overall health of the trees is also impacted by the heat emanating from these high wattage lights.

"The impact on the birds and the health of trees has a domino impact on the insects and the rodents of the area, which can lead to serious nuisance caused to the residents of the locality where the trees are located...", the PIL states.

Case Title: Rohit Joshi vs. Tree Authority, Municipal Corporation of greater Mumbai and Ors.