People, Environment

TM to Atone for Logging 1,700 Trees in Chitgar

Chitgar Forest ParkChitgar Forest Park

A Tehran district mayor said the felling of 1,700 trees in Chitgar Forest Park was "inevitable" and pledged to make up for the loss.  

Some three months ago, 1,700 trees in the old park were cut down by the district municipality on the grounds that they were dry and dead. This is while the authorities had already been warned about the high risk of drying facing a thousand trees in the park.

"About 50,000 trees are supposed to be planted in the park and elsewhere around District 22, of which 30,000 have been planted," Abolqasem Molaei, the head of Tehran Municipality's District 22, added, IRNA reported.

A number of city council members, including Abdolhossein Mokhtabad, denounced the felling of the trees and accused Molaei of recklessness and indifference toward the environment.

"When ordinary citizens are fined for cutting down a single tree, how can this mass logging by city officials be justified?" he asked the district mayor during a city council session in September. The issue has even drawn the ire of lawmakers, with Seyyedeh Fatemeh Hosseini, an MP from Tehran, issuing a statement last week calling on the Interior Ministry to fine the municipality, ILNA reported.

However, the district mayor linked the felling to the unprecedented cold wave in 2007, which caused a number of trees to suffer frostbite and gradually dry.

"We do our best to preserve trees but the felled ones were beyond saving," he said, adding that since the trees had marred the landscaped of the 980-hectare park, they were cut down as per the advice of experts. Molaei also shifted the blame on Tehran Water and Wastewater Company for cutting the park's water due to unpaid bills. The claim was denied by Aziz Alinejad, an official at the company.

"In spite of the municipality's $1.7 million debt to TWWC, the supply of water for the park has not been cut even for a second," he said.

TWWC is bound to supply water for the park based on a contract signed in 1968.


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