Trees breathe life into the capital’s “concrete jungle”


Looking to ditch its “concrete jungle” moniker and embrace the more favourable “Paris of the Southeast”, the city of Hanoi launched a campaign in February to plant one million trees by 2020.


A project that began years before is starting to bear fruit. In its effort to become a sustainable city, the Hanoi government approved a plan to create a path for Hanoi to become a green and clean city by 2030.


Thousands of camphor, orchid and date palm trees now line Vo Nguyen Giap Street, which stretches from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport to Nhat Tan Bridge. Pockets of land around residential areas, including Tu Hoa, the zone between the InterContinental and Sheraton hotels, have been groomed into bona fide walking gardens.


It’s part of the Vietnamese story, Secretary of the Municipal Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai pointed out at the Feb. 4 ceremony in the Tay Ho district of Hanoi, recalling how President Ho Chi Minh planted trees in a park 57 years before. It’s symbolic of a connection to nature the Vietnamese have celebrated every year since then as part of a green festival.


A Positive Effect


The effect of one million trees added to the environment is more than just optics. Rising temperatures and diminished air quality can all be improved with the addition of trees.


Today, the greening of Hanoi is far more comprehensive than a focus on its parks with the addition of trees to areas around office buildings, residential areas, schools and individual houses.


To add trees, however, some have had to be removed, a fact that initially didn’t sit well with locals concerned about air quality and rising temperatures.


Large, old trees, as well as diseased ones, have been identified for removal by Hanoi Green Tree Park Company, the organisation overseeing the tree project. Throughout Hanoi, they’ve posted signs on trees slated for replacement to give residents a chance to stop their removal if a compelling argument can be made.


According to the Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, Nguyen Duc Chung, Hanoi is aiming to grow more than 430,000 trees. With a recent study confirming that trees grow faster in urban versus rural environments, there’s a good chance Hanoi will reach its goal of one million trees by 2020.


Maybe then, we’ll all be able to breathe a little more easily.


To read the other articles in this series, click on the following links:


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