Residents of Islamabad are protesting against cutting of trees at Embassy Road, Islamabad
Islamabad authorities have finally woken up after cutting of 200 trees that offered shade to the citizens in scorching heat and added the beauty to the surroundings.
The National Commission for Human Rights Pakistan (NCHR) has ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to stop trees felling for the development purpose of the Attaturk Avenue.
The orders were issued at the preliminary hearing held at NCHR office on Monday, 30th October 2017 in response to the petition filed by Majid Bashir of Centre for Rule of Law-Islamabad (CRLI) and the Reclaiming Green Islamabad (RGI), an environmental network of the residents of Islamabad.
The members of RGI and CRLI have demanded a formal answer from CDA for the felling of trees without prior approval from the EPA.
The Friends of Trees have also requested for a permanent member seat of civil society for the planning of development in Islamabad. The next hearing will be held on 6th November 2017 where the issue of expansion will be discussed.
Earlier, Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) submitted a response to NCHR stating that they had issued a notice to the CDA for non-compliance of EPA rules and regulations.
The felling of the trees at the Embassy Road has been taken as a serious offence by the residents of Islamabad who staged several protests to raise their concerns regarding the frequent cutting of trees from the green belts in the name of infrastructure development.
As per the CDA and EPA, a public hearing was held for the dualization project however the citizens claimed that they were not informed about such hearing.
The NCHR further ordered the two institutions, EPA and CDA, to submit minutes and newspaper clipping of the public hearing announced in this regard.
CDA representatives informed Chairman of NCHR Justice (R) Ali Nawaz Chohan that they have started planting trees in compensation for those already cut for the dualization of the Ataturk Avenue.
The EPA and CDA will be inspecting the site on 31st October 2017 along with the team of RGI. The inspection is held to check the quantity and species of trees the CDA is planting as a mitigation plan.
The NCHR chairperson also ordered the CDA to transplant the trees instead of cutting them. The CDA as a response shared that the transplanting machine is only good for trees with a smaller diameter. The NCHR showed their concerns over the transplanting machine.
Photos that were taken by Islamabad Scene at the tree cutting site: