Hanoi has chopped down 500 trees and is planning to lop another 6,200 on streets in a move it said to ensure the safety and beauty of the city, although local residents oppose the cutting of such a large number of trees.
Though city authorities said they have the agreement of locals to cut the trees down, residents have protested the mass logging.
According to the People’s Committee of Hanoi, the capital now has a total of around 120,000 big trees of 70 species planted along urban streets and highways, many of which were planted before 1945.
The 6,700 trees planned to be cut down are on 190 streets in ten urban districts in Hanoi, local authorities said, elaborating that they include 4,500 trees unsuitable for the city, such as coral and kapok trees and 2,208 others with leaning trunks that badly affect the landscape and threaten the safety of people.
Some have even displayed decay in their roots, trunks and branches and may fall down anytime, especially in the rainy season with strong winds, the authorities added.
The Hanoi Department of Construction has earmarked VND60 billion (US$2.8 million) for chopping them down and replacing the trees with others from now till 2017, according to Nguyen Thinh Thanh, vice head of the office of the People’s Committee.
The city is taking advantage of suitable weather conditions to start planting new trees for replacement on 17 streets, Thanh added.
“Residents on the 17 streets agreed with the replacement,” he claimed.
The trees to be cut down were already surveyed by the Hanoi Park and Green Tree Company, said Hanoi transport department director Le Van Duc, who confirmed that over 500 trees have been felled and replaced.
At a meeting of the People’s Committee on Thursday, chairman Nguyen The Thao said that, “The replacement of the old and decayed trees is a correct policy.”
However, he suggested that relevant agencies properly inform city dwellers of the work to clear any misunderstanding.
It is useful for everyone, not just a single individual or agency in the city, Thao stressed.