August 4, 2014

Save the trees

Walking around Male one cannot but notice with some sadness the demise of a forest cover that we ever had 50 years ago when houses were shaded and shadowed by all types of tropical foliage. But now, alas, this picture has turned upside down; the high-rises shade and shadow the few trees we have left. I guess that is what development means these days, and yours truly may not be devoid of blame either as a Male citizen. Yes, there are several streets that boast great tree cover from shade trees planted 30 years or more ago, yet there are many that lie bare in the scorching heat. But what I feel most regretful is the absence of those fruit trees of yore, the canopy of mango, fluttering groves of papaya and guava, the majestic bread-fruit, and yes, the throng of banana that crowded the Male scenery. Complementing these were also the copious and ubiquitous groves of plants and bushes that bore sweet smelling flowers. Now much of it is gone but for a few lingering forlorn survivors that are perhaps awaiting their uprooting to be replaced by yet another high-rise edifice. 

 In our relentless drive to build in the image of development our precious little ground water that exists in the form of a freshwater lens couched within our fine coral sand is also soon in threat of final depletion because everyone now wants to have an underground parking lot for vehicles that we don’t need on this square mile of home, the construction of which bleeds all this water for days. So what will be the plight of our few trees that are there? A good present moment example is the high-rise that is coming up beside our grand mosque in Male from which two four inch pipes pump this fresh water into the sea for days; yes, why not into some seepage pit on land?! Thus, in this same vein, I beseech Allah to give our civic leaders the mind for environment to win over this warped sense of development.

To save the few majestic vegetation that still populate Male I would suggest that the city council plead with those homeowners who happen to be the stewards of these historic stalwart trees for house plot changes in lieu so that these few trees can be saved as city park spaces or mosque premises for future generations to witness the beauty of nature -- places where our children, youth, and the elderly can continue to have the opportunity to behold the wonder of Allah’s Creation.  

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