ISLAMABAD: After losing hundreds of trees and the green cover to pave way for construction of the Metro Bus project, the capital city braces itself once again to sacrifice another 300 fully-grown trees and a significant portion of a park, in the name of development.
“Over 300 trees will be cut down. While a three-foot belt of Kachnar Park at I-8 – running parallel to the existing Islamabad Highway – will get encroached to make room for expansion of the highway,” confirmed a senior officer of the CDA.
Read: Going green: ‘No tolerance for illegal cutting of trees’
The civic agency has recently completed survey in this regard. The CDA’s environment wing claims that most of the trees that would be chopped are of paper mulberry and pear and other fruit trees.
These trees are located on either side of the existing highway between Zero Point and Faizabad. Besides, the greenbelts on both sides of the highway will be destroyed during the expansion, the official added.
The CDA Spokesperson, Ramzan Sajid said that the development had a cost and the city would have to pay it. He said that as per the Environment Protection Agency guidelines the civic agency would plant three times more plants in various areas of Islamabad.
Sajid said that he did not have the exact knowledge of the number of trees that would be chopped or portion of park included to extend the highway. He said the civic agency would try to recover any damage that would be incurred to the environment during the construction.
Some 759 fully grown and decades-old trees, 3,773 small trees and several shrubs were cut down during the construction of the Metro Bus project. Additionally, 5,526 ground covers and small bushes were also removed.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Dushka Saiyid, an environmental campaigner and member of the Islamabad Green Force, said that the uncontrolled and unplanned development in Islamabad was destroying the beautiful leafy capital.
Read: Money grows on trees: City managers, provincial govt plan to chop down 1,400 trees
She said that due to continuous environmental degradation at the hands of ill-conceived developmental and recreational projects the city’s temperature was on a constant rise.
Saiyid said that the Islamabad Green Force would soon announce its course of action against these anti-environmental projects.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.
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