Malé, Maldives – Speaker of Parliament and former President, Mohamed Nasheed has filed a case on Friday with Civil Court to stop the removal of trees from Ameenee Magu.
The case was filed against Road Development Corporation (RDC) and Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure by Shunana & Co.LLP who’re representing Speaker Nasheed.
Nasheed’s lawyers have also requested for a temporary injunction to stop the removal of any more trees until the court gives a verdict on the case.
Some of the points highlighted in the case are;
- EIA report does not clarify the environmental impacts of removing the 147 trees including the level of air pollution it would cause, level of impact due to climate change, clear mitigation methodologies of the environmental impacts and the impact to the people.
- New plants to be imported from India to be planted later which might lead to new species and pests to be introduced which might affect the terrestrial biodiversity.
- Additional threat to achieving the goal of lowering Greenhouse gases (GhG) emissions by 26% by 2030 as per the proposal made by Maldives to UNFCCC.
- EIA recommends to pave the road with paver blocks, not asphalt or concrete. Paving roads with asphalt without any mature trees would lead to cause more heat absorption in an equatorial country like Maldives and asphalt is not a sustainable option for paving as per the EIA.
- Protecting trees if one of the strongest actions against the global climate crisis.
- Large and mature trees root system strengthen the soil and canopies lower the risk of flooding as per research.
The filing also pointed out that Maldives announced a Climate Emergency Declaration in 2020 and is a member of the Paris Agreement and that necessary research must be carried out to study the impacts of moving large mature trees from one location to the other followed by appropriate actions and if not, that the country was going against the Paris Agreement.
The roadside trees on Ameenee Magu are currently being removed to make way for the ongoing redevelopment of the road using asphalt, which is worth MVR 84 million and commenced on August 30, 2022 by Road Development Corporation (RDC).
The project which has high expectations from the public towards it met with heavy criticism after RDC started removing the trees shortly after work commenced.
Following the public outrage of cutting down the trees in Ameenee Magu, President’s Office told local media that he removal of trees is necessary for the development of Ameenee Magu, as the roots of the trees hinder pipe and cable placement.
Highlighting the importance of continuing the project without hindrance as the current condition of the road disrupts traffic and pedestrians, government Spokesperson Mohamed Miuvan justified the removal stating that the plants in Ameenee Magu are different from trees that are typically planted roadside.