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Official responds to outrage over trees being cut down across Egypt

The Chairman of the Local Administration Committee at the Egyptian House of Representatives Ahmed al-Sajini said that reports of trees being cut down across Egypt are “a random, exceptional, individual act and not a rule or plan established by the state.”

He noted that old photos were being used as part of the social media campaign against cutting down trees, including those of trees cut down three years ago in Alexandria governorate.

In a phone interview with TV host Amr Adib on the “al-Hekaya” (The Story) show on Monday, Sajini hailed the initiative launched by the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to plant 100 million trees.

He explained that the initiative is being implemented according to a plan drawn up between the ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Local Development.

Thus far they have carried out the planting of 12 million trees under the initiative, he said.

The chairman added that the Environment Ministry aims to plant trees across the country according to the needs of each governorate while creating an investment environment that can be used to provide certain types of wood as well as fruit.

“Planting trees for added value. The principle is not to create an aesthetic environment from them. The principle is to benefit from them after that and introduce them into industries,” he explained.

However this prompted Adib to interrupt him, saying: “Providing wood! You will plant trees so that you can cut them down after that.”

The Environment Ministry has organized a national dialogue regarding the process of cutting trees, developing recommendations for dealing with trees, and criminalizing cutting it in the absence of legal reasons for doing so.

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