Trees in Saigon: The Internet Debate Rages On

The new park at the bottom of Tran Ngao

The internet has been alive with debate over the cutting down of trees in Saigon. Am I the only one who is finding the faux outrage when the government cuts a tree down, hilarious? It is simply dumb. I have lived here for over four years and I would bet that there are more trees in Ho Chi Minh City than there were when I arrived. There are ridiculous articles from websites, posts on facebook, tweets and total hysteria every time an aged tree is cut down. It is mainly done either for safety reasons, or due to the huge amount of development in the city.

The plans that the local government have for the city make perfect sense. The fact that a few trees have to go, also makes perfect sense. Cut ten trees down and the huggers come out in force, plant hundreds of new ones and nobody says a word. If you drive through the tunnel into D2 from D1 there are thousands of new trees planted along the route. Tran Nao has changed beyond belief. It used to be four lanes with ugly pylons along the middle and electricity cables all over the place. It was raised a metre high to stop flooding, widened to six lanes and has seen the planting of around 600 trees, but people still bitch about the few old ones.

The new look Tran Nao

Nguyen Hue has Meant More Trees in Saigon

Nguyen Hue saw an upgrade two years ago and everyone was bitching and moaning about a few trees that were cut. The new walking street version of this popular thoroughfare has about 3 times as many trees as the old one. I have even heard people moaning that the new trees are not as big, seriously? You do realise that trees grow, don’t you?

The loop that goes under the Hanoi highway between An Phu and Thao Dien is another perfect example. It used to be complete mess. Now it is a really nice looking park with hundreds of trees.

As work continues on the Thao Dien side, so many more trees are being planted. But don’t hold your breath on people writing about that! It’s more self satisfying to bitch about a dozen aged, unhealthy trees being dropped in D1.

The development continues with More planting on the Thao Dien side

The New Bridge Between Districts 1 and 2 Will Be Good News for Commuters

The latest outrage surrounds the plan to build a new bridge over the Saigon River between districts 1 and 2. If ever a bridge were needed, this is it. The gridlock at times is horrific. If a few trees have to go, give me the chainsaw, I’ll drop the buggers myself. It is absolutely guaranteed that the peoples’ committee will plant many more than they cut down. Why? Because they always do.

In many “civilised” countries around the globe, they forbid trees if they are 100 years old. They are cut because they are ridiculously unsafe. The trees in Saigon are old, not in great condition and have pretty poor root balls. They are ripe for falling over. For once let’s see some credit where credit is due. Saigon is still a very green looking city. People moan about the traffic, moan about the building of the Metro and moan when they cut a few trees down to improve traffic flow.

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Following a highly successful 25-year career as a singer/songwriter and musician, Keith pulled out of the rat race and moved to Southeast Asia in 2008. First living in Thailand, he moved to Cambodia and then relocated to Ho Chi Minh City in early 2013. Keith has had work published in magazines and websites in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and Asia. He has written for the BBC and has appeared on TV and radio in many different countries. His great loves are music and travel, but he writes on a whole range of subjects.