YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A roundtable was organized by the Environmental Public Advocacy Center (EPAC) on August 15. It discussed the problem of Armenia’s green belt – the felling of trees and illegal construction in territories with greenery. Representatives of environmental public organizations–Ministry of Nature Protection–Yerevan Municipality–and scientists discussed the major problems of the green belt. The public organizations and the Yerevan Municipality displayed contradictory approaches both to the existence of such problems and to their solution. Environmentalists were indignant at the so-called rejuvenation of trees in Yerevan’s streets and parks. According to the representative of the Armenian Botanical Society–Gohar Oganezova said that under the pretense of rejuvenation–the actual felling of trees was carried out; after this procedure such trees as plants and oaks may die without proper care.
The argumen’s for such measures advanced by representatives of the Yerevan Municipality did not satisfy either the public organizations or botanists who participated in the roundtable.
Special attention was also paid to the illegal construction because of which forests are felled. Many facts were presented–such as the construction of cafes in parks and of "Bingo-Poker" near the Aragast cafe–which resulted in the felling of over 20 trees. Responding to the explanations provided by the representatives of the Yerevan Municipality that the building permits were granted by former mayors–EPAC Chairwoman Aida Iskoyan pointed out that illegal decisions may be appealed in court.
The public and government structure arrived at a common conclusion on one issue–the establishment of a coordinating council for environmental problems in the city.