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Protect S'pore's iconic trees

It is indeed sad that the iconic tree in Punggol was struck by lightning, and hence started to decay ("Punggol #instagramtree's days numbered"; Aug 16).

This would mean the demise of another of nature's icons.

To safeguard other iconic trees, a rare sight in our crowded shores, perhaps the National Parks Board (NParks) can do more to save them, such as the casuarina tree at Upper Seletar Reservoir and the Tembusu tree at the Botanic Gardens.

I suggest NParks install a lightning conductor next to the tree. This is a metal rod or metallic object mounted on top of buildings, or even a tree, which is then electrically connected using a wire or electrical conductor to the ground or "earth" through an electrode.

If lightning strikes, the object acts as a conducting path for the lightning to be dissipated to the earth, thereby saving the tree.

Currently, lightning conductors are already being used at Housing Board blocks and other buildings, so there should be no difficulty in adapting them for the trees' use.

We should take action fast to save the iconic trees, rather than regret not doing so when it is too late.

Lee Kek Chin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 30, 2015, with the headline 'Protect S'pore's iconic trees'. Print Edition | Subscribe