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Sign petition! Bishkek residents oppose mass felling of trees

Bishkek residents and non-governmental organizations ask the Bishkek City Administration to stop felling of trees in the capital. The petition is posted on change.org.

«We urge the city authorities to stop all work related to reconstruction of roads till decisions acceptable for citizens on preserving green spaces is made and to take measures to improve air quality and restore the favorable environmental situation in the city. Decisions should be made through creation of a commission consisting of representatives of the city administration, deputies of the Bishkek City Council and the Parliament, citizens and public organizations. All subsequent actions of the city authorities on the reconstruction of roads and cutting down trees should be taken only after a dialogue of the city authorities with the public and making decisions acceptable to the residents of the city,» the petition says.

The initiators note that the requirements are based on the rights of citizens of Kyrgyzstan, enshrined in the Constitution and the laws of the country.

«First of all, our requirements are based on Article 48 of the Basic Law, which guarantees us the right to an environment that is favorable for life and health. Today, the ecological environment in Bishkek, in which more than a million people live, is a disaster. According to reports, the level of air pollution in some places of the city exceeds the maximum permissible norms 14 times! And in this situation, the city administration plans to cut down 4,000 trees, which, as of today, are the only natural defenders of people from harmful emissions,» the petition said.

The document also notes that Bishkek has a General Plan, approved in 2006 and determining the main directions of urban development until 2025.

The road reconstruction project in the capital is being implemented in violation of the General Plan, causing irreparable damage to the ecological situation in the city.

The initiators demand to hold public hearings on the road reconstruction project, posting visualized materials on the city administration’s website, including the location of roads on the city map and cross sections on all roads planned for reconstruction, including pedestrian infrastructure and landscaping before and after reconstruction, to suspend the road reconstruction project, providing for cutting down 4,000 trees.

In addition, in their opinion, it is necessary to create a commission consisting of representatives of the city administration, deputies of the Bishkek City Council and the Parliament, representatives of citizens and NGOs to consider the future of the road reconstruction project.

«It is possible to continue the road reconstruction project on the condition that the municipality finds and makes an acceptable decision for the citizens,» the petition states.

Recall, 60 capital streets will be repaired within two years in Bishkek as a part of the second phase of Development of Street-Road Network project. At the same time, according to preliminary estimates, about 4,000 trees are to be cut down. This figure outraged Bishkek residents, because the new mayor Aziz Surakmatov promised not only to preserve green zones, but also to plant new trees.