By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: Green Line Environmental Group is organizing a special campaign to save 83,000 trees in the south of Qairawan that are slated to be uprooted by the government to turn it into a residential area. Environmental activist Khaled Al-Hajeri, Chairman of Green Line Environmental Group, affirmed his group warned governmental officials about the danger of removing the 83,000 trees, even though the government has signed many agreements and made many promises in international forums confirming its commitment to protecting the environment and reducing the effects of high temperatures.
Despite the huge efforts and continuous follow-up by Green Line activists to stop the uprooting and parliamentary promises and assurances that the trees will not be harmed, the area’s trees are still at risk of removal in spite of their environmental and health importance to the people of Kuwait in light of the spread of air pollution.
According to Green Line, a source at the Public Authority of Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources assured them the trees will not be removed. The source stressed PAAAFR is keen on increasing green spaces in the country and protecting green areas, especially as Kuwait has adopted the Saudi Middle East Green Initiative that aims to invest in clean energy projects as part of efforts to reduce regional carbon emissions. Temperatures in Kuwait are projected to rise faster than the global average in the coming decades. Trees help to clean the air, soil and water, making Earth a livable place.
The parliamentary government had allowed the destruction of the woodland containing 83,000 trees in South Qairawan, despite identifying sites suitable as residential areas with the capacity of tens of thousands of residential units. There are eight areas suitable as residential areas: West Jahra with an area of 5.7 km and capacity for 5,500 housing units, South Sabahiya with an area of 5.3 km and a capacity for 2,500 units, the radio transmission station area over an area of 25 km and capacity for 15,000 units, South Umm Al-Haiman over an area of 5.3 km and capacity for 2,500 housing units, camp land area over 5.2 km that can accommodate 2,000 housing units, Taima over an area of 5.2 km and capacity for 2,000 units, South Doha over an area of 2 km with 1,200 housing units, and Abu Halifa over 1 km with 650 housing units.
Recently, the Minister of Social Affairs and Community Development and Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Urban Development Mubarak Al-Arou announced the PAHW has begun work on planning and designing the South Qairawan project. The project was handed over to PAHW to build housing that accommodates approximately 2,200 housing units for 11,000 citizens. It is worth mentioning that South Qairawan, which has been allocated an area of 3.1 sq km, is a prominent site close to urban areas, located between the Fifth and Sixth Ring Roads.