BRT project to affect more than 2,000 trees

PROPONENTS of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project released a final list of the more than 2,000 trees that will be affected once the project will be fully implemented.

Nida Cabrera, consultant of the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office, said that aside from the 2,166 trees, some 16 shrubs along the BRT routes from Barangays Talamban to Bulacao will also be affected.

Of the 2,182 trees, close to 200 gmelina, mahogany and ipil-ipil trees will have to be cut due to their size and age.

At least 30 fruit-bearing trees like jackfruit, chicos, guavas, tamarind and mansanitas are also open for adoption under the City’s Adopt-A-Tree program.

The remaining trees, on the other hand, will be transferred to the sidewalks and center islands in the South Road Properties. Some of the trees will be included in the greenery project covered by the rehabilitation of the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill.

As for flower-bearing trees like fire, Thailand shower, calachuchi and banaba, Cabrera said that these will be transferred to the sidewalks of the newly widened roads once the project is finished. Some 10 mango trees will also be transferred along the General Maxilom Ave.

Aside from this, the City Government will also be replacing the old trees with 350,000 new ones.

The proponents assured the community stakeholders who attended a consultation on the matter yesterday that the trees will be handled with care and that the City will not be committing any environmental violations.

“One of the City’s commitments is to increase public awareness and action on the preservation and protection of the trees. After all, the BRT is not just a mass transport project, but an environmental project as well,” said Cabrera.

The Philippine Earth Justice Center, for its part, asked the proponents to preserve the trees or face the charges they will be filing against them.

While generally supportive of a mass transport project, Sanlakas Partylist and Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya asked the City not to overlook the trees and the marginalized.

City Administrator Nigel Paul Villarete assured that the P10 billion project funded by the Clean Technology Fund will not neglect the affected trees.

“This is our contribution to the Paris Agreement. The BRT can be the biggest contributor in addressing climate change as far as the City is concerned,” he said.

A public hearing on the project is also scheduled at the Rizal Public Library at 9 a.m. today.
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