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When trees become a nuisance


Mango trees dot the streets of residential areas in Malaysia. 



I read recently that living in a neighbourhood with trees lining the streets has benefits that are not easily understood.

A Canadian study has found that people who live on a tree-lined block are less likely to report conditions such as high-blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Maybe it is the cleaner air (thanks to the trees) that makes people want to go out and about or it could be due to the "poetry-inspiring aesthetic beauty" of trees that motivate people to want take care of their health.

I completely agree with the above.

But my friend's current problem with a neighbour whose passion is planting trees makes me wonder if Malaysians have gone overboard in responding to the call to plant trees around their homes.

Rabiaa Dani is upset that the neighbour did not ask her permission to plant a mango tree in a space enough for one tree on her side of the kerb. He had pulled out the palm tree she had planted earlier replacing it with the mango tree, a favourite among Malaysians.

That was nine years ago. She didn't speak to him about it then because she did not want to create problems.

But the tree had grown to a point where the roots are likely to snake their way into her small garden and possibly damage that part of the wall surrounding it. Also people with bad intentions could use the branches stretching outside the wall to climb into her yard and do mischief.

Additionally, it is close to an electrical pole. Another potential hazard.

She told the neighbour, after much thought, that she was going to cut down the tree. At first he agreed but went back on his word and "reminded" her that she had given his wife permission years ago to plant it. Rabiaa vehemently denied making such an agreement and forcefully told the woman so.

Rabiaa is going ahead with her resolution to get rid of the tree because of the dangers it would pose, as noted above.

They say time heals griefs and quarrels and she would be grateful if this could happen sooner rather than later.

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