India Initiative Applying 'Sunscreen' Coating to Trees

FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2024

Volunteers in Bengaluru, India, are applying a cooling coating to trees to help protect them from unusually high temperatures and termite infestations.

The “Cool Tree Campaign” was launched as temperatures are rising in the area, depleting groundwater levels and adversely affecting trees. Termites also feed on the available moisture in the plants, reducing the lifespan of the trees and decaying the roots.

“Bengaluru has never experienced such harsh summers. There has been a depletion in groundwater which has affected trees and stunted their growth. We know that not many want to plant trees so we came up with this idea to protect the existing green cover,” said Vinod Kartavya, founder, Bengaluru Hudugaru.

“However, by eliminating termites and applying the protective white coat, we can significantly enhance the health and longevity of trees. Just as humans require sunscreen to shield their skin from sun damage, trees need protection too.”

Each Sunday, a group of about 30 volunteers visit local areas and apply a circle of the white coating around the trees.

According to Kartavya, the white paste mixture includes Befenthrin, Malathion or Organophosphate, neem oil, limestone and wheat flour for adhesion. The formulation was reportedly created using suggestions from a BBMP forest range officer.

“The first three chemicals will help with the infestation of termites while neem oil will help the wounds to heal quickly and limestone will give a cooling effect and act as a reflector in the night,” he said.

The coating reportedly needs to be prepared regularly, costing around 2,000 rupees (about $24) per 50 trees. Volunteers have coated about 200 trees across the city so far.

“We look forward to tying up with other residential societies and involving young children to contribute and learn more about how one can do their bit to save our environment,” Kartavya added.

Using Trees for Coatings

Last year, in October, the European Union funded a research project to develop sustainable adhesives and coatings from pine and spruce bark.

Coordinated by VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, the SuperBark project consists of 12 partners from eight countries. The Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking funds projects advancing circular bio-based industries under its research and innovation program.

With the awarded 4.5 million euro (around $4.7 million), the team reportedly aimed to develop, test and validate adhesives and coatings with greater than or equal to 95% bio-based content. The intended product would replace fossil-based solutions used in consumer products in the furniture, construction, transport and packaging sectors.

SuperBark planned to utilize polyphenols extracted from tree bark using a new alkaline fractionation technology, as well as cellulose nanofibrils converted from cellulose-rich bark residues. Additionally, according to the award details, they would use digital tools to support the scale-up and market integration of the adhesives and coatings. 

The consortium added that, throughout the project, partners would evaluate the safety, sustainability, technical and economic performance of the adhesives and coatings, further research that is anticipated to reduce demand for fossil-based chemicals and polymers.


Tagged categories: AS; Asia Pacific; Bio-based materials; Coating Application - Commercial; Coating chemistry; Coating Materials; Coating Materials - Commercial; Coatings; Environmental Controls; Environmental Protection; Environmentally friendly; Good Technical Practice; Green coatings; India; Paint application; Temperature

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