The greening of Chennai.

An aerial view of Chennai shows a very green city, part of what makes it an excellent place to live. If you think about it, this seems to be contrary to the perennial problem of water! The truth is that the foliage & flora that are indigenous to this area thrive in the hot, humid weather, even if the monsoons have failed.


A visit to the campus of the Madras Christian College, the IIT campus, or the Guindy national Park, will have ample evidence of this. All have hundreds of acres of land covered with trees and other vegetation. All of which manage quite well on their own, thank you. Which means that, if we plant trees or plants native to the region, they should do quite well without having to spend a lot of time and effort.

Chennai is green as it is, but there many areas that are getting very built up, especially the new developments with hundreds of apartments or large office complexes. They leave very little room for any greenery, and even if they do have open spaces, they promptly tar the open area or pave them with concrete blocks. Anyone who has visited Tidel Park, or the new Egmore Railway Station entrance off Poonamallee Road, will know what I’m talking about.


It would be great if the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA, formerly MMDA) mandates that any new buildings will only receive clearance if they are environmentally friendly in layout, with sufficient open spaces, landscaping, greenery and rain water harvesting. Right now, only the last point is a mandate. Chennai would then become even greener, with facilities that are environmentally sensitive and aesthetically pleasing. The city would also increase its green cover, instead of losing it as its doing now in many of the newly developing areas. This, in turn, would attract more rain and turn this into a virtuous cycle for weather that’s more predictable.

One of the things we could do with the Chennai Metblog is to invite people to plant a tree, on the road outside their building or apartment complex, or in their gardens and mail in to us so that we can have a tree monitor! The Government actually has a nursery from where they will give away saplings for free or at a very low cost. That’s onw more way to green Chennai, and might inspire many corporates to adopt stretches of road which they can plant with avenue trees.

2 Comments so far

  1. Nilu (unregistered) on July 6th, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

    I suggest you take that 8th grade geography text. Brush up what is called ‘dry evergreen scrub’ and the nature of vegetation in Madras. Then revist this post. If you still don’t feel like deleting it, let me know.

  2. Tom (unregistered) on July 6th, 2006 @ 7:31 pm

    I’ve been in Chennai for about four months now and have been pretty impressed with how much green space Chennai has. Now if only the public parks (and beaches) could be kept clean enough to truly enjoy…

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