Further decline in number of trees in Prague could have serious consequences, warns green group


There are serious levels of pollution in Prague, with the quality of air in many parts of the city leaving a great deal to be desired. Now the environmental group Arnika is warning that things could get even worse, if a recent decline in the number of trees in the Czech capital continues. At the launch on Wednesday of a report entitled The State and Development of Greenery in Prague, I spoke to Arnika’s Martin Skalský.

“We found that there’s been a decrease in the number of trees in Prague, because the districts of Prague, which issue permits for the cutting down of trees and the planting of new trees, have permitted more cutting than planting in the last five years. It’s a problem of the inner city.”

Why are trees being cut down in the city?

“Mostly because of construction. The main problem is that the price of the properties is very high and there is great pressure for new constructions in the city centre and in lucrative parts of Prague. That’s the main reason for the cutting down of trees and a decrease in green spaces.”

How do you expect things will develop in this area in the future?

“We don’t know what will happen. Now the main issue facing Prague is a new urban plan, which is now under consideration, and the public can also have some comments on it. So the future of Prague will be determined by the new zoning plan, but we still don’t know how it will look.”

Martin Skalský
How serious is this question? It seems to me the biggest problem in Prague is the number of cars, not the number of trees.

“We’ve got more than one problem, that’s true. But it’s also connected. There is a high concentration of emissions in the air and also noise and dust, because of cars. But on the other hand, if we’ve got greenery in good quality and a good number of trees, it can also help to solve these problems. We also need some green areas for recreation and sport and so on. That’s another aspect of the quality of life in Prague.”

What would the effect be on the population of Prague if the number of trees kept going down?

“There have been some medical observations and expert surveys that show that even now the quality of air and also the decrease in green areas can harm human health, especially of children. We could see very seriously these results in the next 10 or 20 years. So we think this issue is really the topic of the day and the public should really watch these green areas very carefully.”

Generally speaking, when you look to the future are you yourself personally optimistic that Prague will be as green in 25, 30 years as it is today?

“Actually I think I will still live in Prague in 20 years, so I will do my best to change the situation and try to help. That can also be the goal of all the people who wish to live in Prague, because we also need some green areas and a better quality of life.”