The once-lush Cairo suburb of Heliopolis is noticeably less green than it was two years ago, before the Egyptian revolution. Our Observer tells us that both local authorities and residents have been cutting down trees haphazardly, and that due to a leadership void that has persisted since the revolution, there is nobody to turn to for help.One Egyptian blogger writes;
These days, when you call the police to report a thief, they don’t care; they have bigger problems. [Crime surged in Egypt after the revolution]. So if you call them about someone cutting down a tree, they’ll just laugh at you. I called the environment ministry when I saw the local authorities cutting down perfectly healthy trees, but the ministry told me the trees were the property of the local government, so they couldn’t do anything. What we need, of course, are stronger environmental laws, but since Egypt is currently without a parliament, that seems to be a far-off dream. [Egypt currently lacks a law-making lower house of parliament; elections are to be held within two months].
Every day, we are losing more trees. People are busy with many problems here in Egypt: our struggling economy, our bitter politics. Nobody cares much about the environment right now. But if this continues, we’ll soon be living in an urban desert.