The Malé City Council on Sunday started planting trees in the capital’s outer ring road under the government’s RahFehi (Green Island) programme.
Neem and Thai Bungur trees were planted along the southern waterfront from the Malé jail to the swimming track area.
Some 3,000 trees will be planted under the programme, Environment Minister Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan said at an event held to plant the first batch, pledging to assist the council’s efforts.
The city council hopes to make the congested capital greener and less of a “concrete jungle,” Councillor Shamau Shareef said.
A tree planting programme was part of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s agenda for his first 100 days in office.
On Monday, the city council in collaboration with the ministry of youth and sports opened an outdoor gym on Ameenee Magu.
Making arrangements for exercising in public spaces was also a target of the first 100-day action plan.
‘Ameenee Sandhres’ was developed with equipment and machines for public use. Four more gyms will be opened in the capital, acting youth minister Ali Waheed said at the opening ceremony.
In October, the infrastructure ministry under the former administration was slapped with hefty fines for uprooting trees without permission and for carrying out the ring road expansion project without a mandatory environmental impact assessment.
The ministry ignored concerns over the lack of an environmental impact assessment when decade-old trees on the outskirts of Malé were cut down in April last year.
A long section of the ring road was paved with tar and widened for the opening of the Sinamalé bridge that connects the capital to Hulhumalé.
Top Environment Protection Agency officials told the Maldives Independent at the time that they were prevented from warning the ministry to stop the road construction.
More recently, the EPA has been under fire for authorising the mass removal of trees for the landscaping of new resorts.