Following the removal of trees at Castille a few weeks back, yesterday a number of trees were uprooted in St. James Ditch in Valletta. Some of these trees were up to 50 years old. The trees were removed in order to make way for more parking facilities in Valletta.
Although it looks like the trees are going to be re-planted elsewhere, the process of uprooting is still destructive for trees. The leaves were almost entirely removed and many branches were destroyed, leaving the bare tree stump with some roots. In this case it is very unlikely that these trees will be able to re-generate.
While across the globe more trees are being planted, we are doing the exact opposite here in Malta. Over the last decade several mature trees have been uprooted and most of them were lost, mainly ficus trees. Apart from providing shade and shelter for several birds, such as sparrows and white wagtails, these trees are well known for absorbing toxic pollutants generated by vehicles and industry. Therefore they are vital for us, since they improve our air quality.
However, despite their importance and their enormous benefits, these trees are being uprooted in urban areas such as Valletta. We should be planting more trees, especially in urban areas like Valletta and not remove them.