More than 46 billion VND (2.1million USD) will be spent this year to plant one million new trees in Ho Chi Minh City to increase green cover and beautify city streets.

The city's green space is shrinking significantly, with just one sq m available per person compared to 1.6 sq m in 2005.

That figure is comparatively low, with Paris, for example, having 11.5 sq m of green space per person, and Santiago, Chile 19 sq m.

The City will plant 400,000 perennial trees on public office grounds and roads in suburban districts, as well as along rivers and canals.

Another 533,300 trees including sao (cassia), bang lang (crape myrtle) apricot and phi lao (beefwood) will be planted at cultural and historic parks and on city streets. At least 350 bang (almond) trees will be planted in school gardens.

The city's Parks and Green Trees Company, in coordination with the municipal Forestry Office, will also plant more than 60,000 perennial trees in Binh Chanh district's Le Minh Xuan village.

The Parks company said the purple colour of the bang lang flowers, which blossom year-round, will add more charm to the city's streets, including District 3's Nguyen Dinh Chieu street and District 5's Nguyen Trai street.

Work is underway to improve existing parks and other green spaces.

HCM City has 71,000 trees on streets, but the city's land area for parks this year fell to 700 ha from 1,000ha in 1998, according to the city's Transport Department.

Park acreage has shrunk because of rapid urbanisation and developers' disregard for the city's green-space norms.

The area of Gia Dinh Park in Tan Binh district, for example, was reduced after land was handed over for the construction of the Tan Son Nhat-Binh Loi outer belt road.

In addition, Tan Binh district's Hoang Van Thu Park was divided into two to reduce traffic jams on streets leading to the Tan Son Nhat Airport.

Efforts to increase the city's green space will be more difficult in the future as urban development continues, according to the city's Natural Resources and Environment Department.-VNA