CDA cuts down 200 trees on Ataturk Avenue in Islamabad for road expansion
Islamabad is blessed with immense natural beauty. The beautiful shades of green, yellow, red trees in different seasons is no less than a treat to eyes.
Unfortunately, Capital Development Authority (CDA) and other administrator have started a deliberate and brutal tree cutting campaign on Islamabad’s beloved Embassy Road – street covered by trees.
CDA had cut down around 200 fully-grown trees at Embassy Road last weekend until the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) directed the CDA to stop the felling of trees. CDA says the Embassy Road had to be expanded to ease the pressure of traffic.
The city authorities have cut down hundreds of trees aged between five to 110 years cut down included pine, Shisham, Sirris, Phulahi, Kikar, Sukh Chain and Jacaranda in previous months.
This action by CDA has been severely criticized on social media. After continuous campaign and backlash from social activists, higher authorities including CADD ministers and National Assembly Standing committee have finally waken up and took strict notice of the killing of trees.
— Dr. Shahzad Waseem (@dswpti) October 22, 2017
In its defence, the CDA officials said that for every tree cut for expanding the road, ten new trees will be planted, noting that as many as 2,500 new trees will be planted for the 245 trees which are being cut.
The rapid cutting of trees in the federal capital is causing major environmental degradation and the situation may further deteriorate in the coming years if no attention is paid to issues related to climate change, tree lovers say.
According to Meteorologist Dr. Mohammad Hanif, the ongoing October is the warmest in previous 50 years history of Islamabad. If this tree cutting campaign continues, there will be no rains, and temperature will intensify with every passing year.
Under the Islamabad Wildlife Ordinance 1973 and the Pakistan Forest Act 1927 for controlling encroachments and protecting the trees, unchecked tree cutting is a compoundable offence.
National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change expressed deep concern over the tree cutting on the Embassy Road in Islamabad and directed a concrete inquiry should be made on urgent basis.
Chairman Malik Muhammad Uzair Khan chaired the standing committee meeting along with other members National Assembly. The Committee was also briefed by the Focal Person on Green Pakistan Project, the Committee recommended that third-party evaluation and monitoring policy and mechanism should be prepared in this regard.
Earlier Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, took strict notice of cutting of trees at the Embassy Road, and directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to submit a report on the same day.
CDA officials submitted a report on the issue and briefed the Minister about the urgent need to expand the Embassy Road and the measures taken to mitigate the environmental impact.
According to Project Director of CDA, the green profile of the 7th Avenue and Islamabad Highway after their expansion is a testimony to the fact the projects undertaken by the CDA do not cause harm to the environment but are environment-friendly.
Islamabad citizens highlight Tree cutting issue on social media
The concerned citizens of Islamabad took to social media to highlight the issue:
Massacre in Islamabad: Beautiful Embassy Road trees massacred by CDA. Shame on u Mayor Sheikh Ansar &shame on CDA. Time to stand & save city pic.twitter.com/2FWaWOW6Ji
— Amer Khan (@KhanAmerKhan) October 18, 2017
— Syed M Abubakar (@SyedMAbubakar) October 24, 2017
If CDA carries on with cutting trees like this, it won’t take long for Islamabad to start resembling its twin sister
A view of Ataturk AV. pic.twitter.com/Tp0ShL97Pb
— بنت شکیله. (@_ZeeMee) October 24, 2017