Dhaka can’t afford to lose more greenery
We are alarmed by the news of the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) felling trees on the median strip of Mohakhali-Gulshan Road in an apparent bid to expand its traffic island. According to our report, it has already felled hundreds of trees in the last six months while working on the 1.7km median strip under a road development project. During a recent visit, our reporter has found at least 30 tree trunks scattered in various places. It is unthinkable that the DNCC would allow this to continue despite the criticism faced by the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) for its tree-felling spree on Dhanmondi's Satmasjid Road last month. The initiative also undermines the DNCC mayor's recent pledge to plant two lakh trees over the next two years to reduce the city's temperature, as well as his own instructions to carry out development work without cutting trees.
Reportedly, DNCC authorities felled the trees without obtaining necessary permission from the forest department, which is a clear violation of Section 5 of the Forest Product Transit Rules-2011. Workers have said that the trees were cut down to make the new median strip more convenient. We cannot help but ask: couldn't the expansion work be done by keeping the trees? Reportedly, Tk 22 crore has already been spent for the road improvement project. The question is, is such improvement really necessary or worth the money when it is severely degrading our environment? The result of such onslaughts on the city's green spaces is that it has become a heat island, with the residents suffering severely as a consequence.
Dhaka has already lost much of its greenery. While 20 percent of green space is required in the city, it has less than 8.5 percent left at present. And with such ill-planned development activities underway, we may lose the remaining greenery soon. The task ahead is then simple: the authorities must stop all such activities, and plant more trees than are cut to ensure the liveability of this city and the well-being of its residents.