Ton Duc Thang Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dinh Phu
Not long after Hanoi came under fire for its “tree massacre”, Ho Chi Minh City authorities Friday denied reports that they are planning to fell more than 200 trees, including some old ones in the downtown area, to clear the site for the construction of a bridge.
“The information is totally incorrect,” Vo Van Luan, a spokesman for the People’s Committee, said at a press conference.
The consultant for the proposed Thu Thiem Bridge between Ton Duc Thang Street in District 1 and a new urban area in District 2 did propose the felling, but authorities rejected it as “unreasonable”, he said.
The city’s tree density is “low” and the government always tries to create green areas when planning urban projects, he said.
It is always takes cautious when it comes to cutting or replacing trees, he said, pointing out that many projects have been tweaked to avoid affecting greenery.
“For HCMC, trees are very precious.”
When builders or developers want to cut trees for their projects, they need to seek permission from city authorities, he said.
“Please trust the city authorities. HCMC will not make any mistake in cutting trees.”
Earlier in March Hanoi authorities had to call halt to a US$3.4 million landscaping plan following fierce criticism from the public.
The plan envisaged cutting down 6,700 trees, or more than a quarter left in the city, and planting new ones in their place.
By the time the plan was suspended, more than 500 trees were gone.
Scores of officials involved in the project dubbed the “tree massacre” have been suspended and local authorities and government agencies have launched an investigation.