Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Responding to residents’ concerns about the controversial move to chop down old trees, Hà Nội Chairman Nguyễn Đức Chung has pledged that his administration will provide clear information on its plans to replace, cut and remove trees along local streets.
Chung’s assurance was made yesterday after he heard comments from voters about the city’s plan to chop down and replace 1,300 old trees on Phạm Văn Đồng Street before September to broaden the street and build a bridge on Belt Road No 3.
The plan, which the administration says aims to mitigate traffic jams in the area, has been criticised by many residents.
Trịnh Quốc Việt, a resident of Thanh Nhàn Ward, said Hà Nội had experienced earlier this month the worst heat wave in four decades, with the mercury soaring to 41.5 degrees Celsius, disrupting the daily daily lives of residents. This was party caused by the chopping down of trees and filling up ponds and lakes, he said.
Việt said the city administration should carefully consider the issue and find a balance between infrastructure development and environmental protection.
Chung admitted that chopping down trees and filling up lakes in the past were partly to blame for the historic heat wave. However, he said, it was impossible to avoid replacing, chopping down and removing old trees as a city develops.
Old trees would be removed if they are located in areas where the city plans to upgrade transport infrastructure, including broadening roads and building bridges, he said.
Chung said his administration and relevant agencies had carefully considered the proposal and only allowed the chopping down of trees in case it was unavoidable. Studies show that most of the trees along the street were planted in 1992, which meant that they were more than 20 years old, he said.
Therefore, the administration decided to re-plant trees that could develop more in parks and chop down others to sell timber. The city had calculated and chosen the best option, he said.
Hà Nội now has 122 lakes, covering 1,097 ha in inner districts, and 150 lakes with a total area of 534ha in suburban districts. Chung said the ratio of lakes in Hà Nội was higher than other capital cities sin neighbouring countries.
Chung also said that the city plans to plant an additional one million trees by 2020 and dig an additional 25 lakes by 2021.
When this is completed, temperatures are expected to reduce by 1-1.5 degrees Celsius during hot weather, he added. — VNS