No reason for public outrage at removing Addu City’s “Ruhgandu” coconut palms: Mayor Nizar

Addu City Council removes the Link Road "Ruhgandu" coconut palms | Photo: The Times of Addu

Addu City, Maldives – Addu City Mayor Ali Nizar stated earlier today that there is no reason for the public outrage faced at the removal of over 50 coconut palms in the Addu Link Road’s “Ruhgandu” area.

Mayor Nizar stated that

The coconut palms removed are too old to be replanted … Droppings from the palms are a hazard to drivers.

Mayor Ali Nizar

Addu City Council with permission from Environment Protection Agency (EPA) uprooted and removed over 50 coconut palms ageing above 20 years.

“There’s no reason for the public outrage. It’s not like they provide any benefits to the public. We don’t get any coconuts or shade out of them,” stated Mayor Nizar. “Good or bad. People will say something.”

The Addu City Mayor stated that the council will plant trees in the landmark area on the Addu Link Road popular for its coconut palms. The council has not decided which trees will be planted yet.

While the council has removed the palms in the “Ruhgandu” area, they have commenced a program to plant 100,000 coconut palms in the city starting from 5 June 2021.

President’s Special Envoy for Climate Change Sabra Noordeen has expressed concern about the event, calling for more awareness and conversation.

“Having more trees alongside a road is supposed to serve as an aid to slow motorists down. Coconuts could have been picked off trees to prevent them from falling on motorists?” said Noordeen.

Addu Atoll was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2020. Ecosystems found in this biosphere reserve including seagrass and mangroves function as carbon sinks and combat the effects of global climate change.