Home News Mumbai lost more than 21,000 trees in six years to make room for road and metro projects.

Mumbai lost more than 21,000 trees in six years to make room for road and metro projects.

Mumbai lost more than 21,000 trees in six years to make room for road and metro projects.

Mumbai has become increasingly concerned about the quality of the air in recent years, and the city’s rapidly diminishing urban greenery has made matters worse. At least around 21,028 trees have been cut down in the city over the previous six years, according to information that The Indian Express received from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) via the RTI Act.

Most of the trees were cut down to create space for various development projects like the Metro, bullet train, coastal road, sewage treatment plant (STP), and the Goregaon-Mulund Link Road, among others.

The BMC data also reveals that the transplanted 21,916 trees had a low survival rate throughout the six-year period (2018–2023). Only nine of the twenty-four wards had data on the survival of transplanted trees. Out of the 4,338 trees that were relocated within these 9 wards, the survival rate was only 22%, with 963 trees managing to endure.

Mumbai residents are also concerned about the number of trees in the city. The BMC reports that there are 29,75,283 trees in Mumbai. However, city officials made it clear that this figure comes from the 2011 tree census, which was the most recent one.

A closer look at the data reveals a direct correlation between development projects and tree clearance. For example, the S ward of BMC, which includes places like Vikhroli and Kanjurmarg, had the greatest number of trees felled (2,602) of any ward. The area’s ambitious BMC Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) project and the continuing construction of an underground tunnel for the bullet train project coincide with this rise in tree clearance. The K-East ward, which encompasses Andheri East, is next in line, with 1,584 trees cut down. Likewise, there was a significant reduction in the number of trees in the N ward (Ghatkopar) and F/North ward (Sion, Matunga, Wadala), with 1,318 and 1,313 trees, respectively.

Significant tree clearance occurred in the G-South ward, which includes Worli, totaling 1,313. Metro rail work is now underway in areas like Andheri, Juhu, Worli, and BKC, while the BMC has identified Ghatkopar, Versova, and Dharavi as the sites of its large-scale STP project.


According to civic officials, a staggering 90% of tree-cutting permits were granted to accommodate various developmental ventures such as the Metro, bullet train, Mumbai Coastal Road, Sewage Treatment Plants (STP), Goregaon-Mulund Link Road, and other crucial infrastructure projects like bridge construction and road widening.

Former BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, who recently left his post, explained, “Over the past six years, numerous infrastructure initiatives were initiated simultaneously, particularly because many had been delayed for years. Actual ground-level civil works only commenced in the past 3-4 years, necessitating the issuance of tree cutting permissions to facilitate these projects.”

Chahal stated that when undertaking infrastructure projects anywhere globally, there’s an inevitable loss of urban tree cover. In Mumbai’s case, to mitigate this loss, they plan to establish a 300-acre Mumbai Central Park by merging the upcoming 175-acre coastal road promenade with the existing 120 acres of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse.

Data shows that, from 2018 and 2023, 5,584 trees were cut down in 2022, the most, followed by 4,536 trees in 2021.

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