Wednesday July 06, 2022

Environmental body laments chopping of hundreds of trees for Red Line corridor

By Our Correspondent
May 22, 2022

The National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) has expressed concern over felling of hundreds of fully grown trees in Karachi even before any formal groundbreaking for the Red Line section of the bus rapid transit system (BRTS) in the city.

In a statement, NFEH President Naeem Qureshi stated that cutting down hundreds of trees at the very beginning of the groundwork to build the Red Line corridor was simply a merciless act aimed at harming the city’s environment.

He said it was an irony that hundreds of fully grown trees had been chopped on the Super Highway Link Road in the midst of the summer season when scorching heat had created unbearable living conditions in a number of areas in the country.

Qureshi said that a large number of trees had been cut into pieces in a span of a few hours showing that the planners behind the Red Line corridor had no regard for safeguarding Karachi’s environment.

Calling the chopping of shady trees an inhumane act, he said that should not be part of a BRTS project, which was a foreign-funded project and international donors always gave due consideration to environmental concerns.

He recalled that the Red Line bus service was going to be Pakistan’s first mass transit project, which would use an environment-friendly fuel in the form of biogas.

The NFEH president said that planners of the BRTS projects should do their best to ensure that the construction of the bus corridors should save trees as much as possible along the designated routes.

He said that Karachi had earlier lost thousands of trees due to the execution of different mega development projects, including the Green Line bus service, reconstruction of University Road and Tariq Road.

Qureshi urged the Sindh government to come up with a firm mitigation plan to plant new saplings in Karachi in the place of the chopped trees.

He said that as per the international development standards, 10 new saplings should be planted for every lost tree and maintained for 10 years to compensate for the loss.

According to an estimate, a total of 16,000 trees would be cut for making way for the Red Line corridor.