Workers cut down trees on Kim Ma Street for the urban railway project. Hanoi mayor Nguyen Duc Chung said his administration will provide residents with clear information on its plans to take down trees. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung has pledged that his administration will provide clear information on its plans to replace, cut and remove trees along local streets.

Chung made the pledge on June 25 after hearing comments from voters about the city’s plan to chop down and replace 1,300 old trees on Pham Van Dong street before September to broaden the street and build a bridge on Belt Road No 3.

The plan, which the administration says aims to mitigate traffic jams in the area, has been criticised by many residents.

Trinh Quoc Viet, a resident of Thanh Nhan ward, said Hanoi had experienced earlier this month the worst heat wave in four decades, with the mercury soaring to 41.5 degrees Celsius, disrupting the daily lives of residents. This was partly caused by the chopping down of trees and filling up ponds and lakes, he said.

Viet said the city administration should carefully consider the issue and find a balance between infrastructure development and environmental protection.

Chung admitted that chopping down trees and filling up lakes in the past partly led to the historic heat wave. However, he said, it is impossible to avoid replacing, chopping down and removing old trees as a city develops.

Old trees will be removed if they are located in areas where the city plans to upgrade transport infrastructure, including broadening roads and building bridges, he said.

Chung said his administration and relevant agencies have carefully considered the proposal and only allowed the chopping down of trees in case it is unavoidable. Studies show that most of the trees along the street were planted in 1992, which meant that they were more than 20 years old, he said.

Therefore, the administration decided to re-plant trees that could develop more in parks and chop down others to sell timber. The city has calculated and chosen the best option, he said.

Hanoi now has 122 lakes, covering 1,097 ha in inner districts, and 150 lakes with a total area of 534ha in suburban districts. Chung said the ratio of lakes in Hanoi is higher than other capital cities in neighbouring countries.

Chung also said that the city plans to plant an additional one million trees by 2020 and dig an additional 25 lakes by 2021.

When this is completed, temperatures are expected to fall by 1-1.5 degrees Celsius during hot weather, he added.-VNA