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Poll: Trees Vanishing Faster
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Many Hongkongers believe trees are facing a serious threat, says a survey released yesterday.

Forty percent of the 774 people interviewed last month said trees are being cut down at an alarming rate in the urban areas. And more than 60 percent wanted the government to take steps to protect the trees, said the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), which conducted the survey.

"Over 60 percent said the government should not disregard environmental protection for urban development and cut down trees; and 70 percent agreed that the administration should hire specialists to chalk out programs for the maintenance and protection of trees," DAB lawmaker Choy So-yuk said at a press conference yesterday.

The survey shows that most respondents favor enactment of a special legislation for tree protection, while 40 percent condemn the government's attempt to make up for cut trees with newly planted ones, for that's no compensation at all.

Choy said: "From our survey's results, we can see that many of Hong Kong's citizens are concerned about the damage inflicted on trees and the environment for the sake of development, and most are critical of the existing protection policies."

Many citizens agree that a legislation aimed at tree protection is necessary to stop the fellings, Choy said. "Similarly, a majority of the respondents expressed support for the establishment of a special department to carry out maintenance and protection works, which reflects their dissatisfaction with current measures."

Choy said she had submitted a proposal for legislation to the chairman of the Legislative Council, adding that the government should devise clear policies with punitive provisions to stop tree-cutting.

(China Daily HK Edition April 2, 2005)


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