People, Environment

Construction projects Blamed for Demise of Iconic Trees

Construction projects Blamed for Demise of Iconic TreesConstruction projects Blamed for Demise of Iconic Trees

The iconic trees lining both sides of Tehran’s Valiasr Street are being destroyed mostly by construction projects in the area, according to a member of Tehran City Council.

Rahmatollah Hafezi, chairman of the council’s Health and Environment Committee, added that projects, including excavation, soil nailing, building construction and covering the gutters with stone tiles, are the main factors killing these trees, ISNA reported.

Tehran Municipality has come under heavy criticism for cutting down the street’s trees. However, Amirhossein Asari, TN’s deputy for urban services and environment, claims that the trees had been drying slowly for the past seven years and were rotting.

“They posed a risk to pedestrians and drivers, so an expert commission voted in favor of cutting them down,” he was quoted as saying by the municipality-run Persian daily Hamshahri two weeks ago.

In addition to the excuses provided by the municipality, the construction of Line 3 of Tehran Metro and other urban projects are said to have contributed to the felling of the trees.

“If the constructions continue, even planting saplings will be in vain, because tall buildings will prevent the trees from receiving adequate sunlight,” he said.

Hafezi suggested setting a limit on the height of buildings under construction and removing the tiles from the gutters.

“This might help alleviate the problem to a small extent,” he said.

Business owners on Valiasr say the trees were fine and healthy up until three years ago when the municipality started doing substructure work in the gutters where the trees were located for the drainage system.

“Out of nowhere they started pouring cement around the trees as they were laying the foundation. It was clear from the start the trees were doomed,” a shopkeeper told Iran Student Correspondents Association.  

Running north to south, the 19.3-km-long Valiasr Street is said to be the Middle East’s longest street. It is one of Tehran’s main thoroughfares and commercial hubs, which is lined with 90-year-old plane trees planted in wide gutters.