Flamboyant trees in blossom (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi (VNA) – Hanoi’s plan to beautify its major streets with flamboyant trees in an attempt to have an eco-friendly image was met with mixed reactions from environmentalists and biologists.

Nguyen Xuan Hung, Deputy Director of Hanoi Green Tree Park company, said up to 300 flamboyant trees have been planted on the median strips of major streets such as Tran Khat Chan, Xa Dan, Kim Lien-Hoang Cau, Lang Ha and Tay Son.

He said the company will plant more trees as part of its goal to fill all vacant spaces in town that are suitable for tree growth.

However, Pham Ngoc Dang, Vice Chairman of the Environmental and Natural Protection Association, voiced concerns over the choice of tree type and planting location.

Dang said median strips are not suitable for planting flamboyant trees.

As a tree with a big root, flamboyant trees need ample space to grow, he said. The space on median strips is often limited and may be reclaimed for road widening or other purposes at any time.

“The tree’s leaf canopy is also quite wide, which threatens to block commuters’ view when trees grow,” he said.

Trieu Van Hung, an official from the Vietnam Forestry and Technical Science Association, agreed with Dang.

“Planting flamboyant trees on pavements would be a better choice,” he said.

Nguyen Xuan Hung from Hanoi Green Tree Park company addressed the concerns by saying that the company had carefully considered all facts before carrying out the plan.

“The flamboyant tree is listed under the urban green tree category, so there is no problem in planting it,” he said.

He said it was not the first time flamboyant trees were planted on the city’s streets.

He said the company is equipped with the most advanced machinery to prune tree branches in order to avoid obstructing commuters’ vision, and to prevent trees from breaking during storms, while also maintaining their beautiful appearance at the same time.

Doctor Nguyen Lan Hung, General Secretary of the Vietnam Society for Biology, also supported the city’s plan, citing several points in favour of the tree.

He said the flamboyant tree is resilient to windy and stormy weather, and offers a beautiful display of flowers in summer and green leaves in winter.

Flamboyant trees – also called royal poinciana and flame trees – are familiar to many Vietnamese, and are often called “the flower of school age” because it starts to bloom when the academic year ends. It is also planted in large numbers in cities like Hai Phong and Da Nang.

The planting of flamboyant trees in Hanoi is part of a bigger plan to beautify the city by growing one million new trees by 2020, which Chairman of Hanoi’s People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung unveiled late in May.-VNA