Recent media outrage has brought attention to an act of deforestation in Triq l-Iskola, Siġġiewi.
The Siġġiewi local council released a statement regarding the matter via their facebook page, informing the public that the trees are not the property of the council but of the St. Ignatius College Siġġiewi Primary school. The local council has denounced this act as shameful and promised to continue efforts to plant more trees in the locality.
So far it is uncertain as to who actually chopped down the trees, with the local council only commenting on who is responsible for them. No public plans for roadworks on the street are available, though locals rumoured that this was done as the trees’ roots were causing damage to the road foundations.
Siġġiewi local councillors from both major political parties have commented on several Facebook posts regarding the incident, stating that the Head of the primary school informed them that the works were undertaken due to structural damage to the school’s hall as well as the fact the trees not being an endemic species.
Local councillor Rodianne Haber also commented that environmental organisations were informed prior to the works and that the trees are to be uprooted and replanted elsewhere, despite the trees already being irreparably damaged.
UPDATE: Principal Sean Zammit released a statement confirming that the school was responsible and that the roots of the trees had caused damage to the school itself.
Zammit said that upon contacting the Environment Ministry, he was advised that since the ficus trees were not endemic, special permission wasn’t required to cut them down.
The school is said to be replacing the remnants of the trees with a row of endemic trees this September.
What do you think of this situation?