Stealing shade

Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

In the searing heat of Kuwait, trees provide the best shade for people, animals and even vehicles from the direct rays of the sun. But just as Kuwait’s spring turns to summer, trees across the country are being drastically pruned or even cut back, which seems strange given the desperate need for shade.

The beautification department of the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) is in charge of this work. Abdul Mohsen Khaja, director of the execution and maintenance department at PAAAFR, spoke to Kuwait Times about preparations for the summer.

“The beautification department monitors maintenance contracts with horticulture companies that are specialized in agriculture in general during the whole year (summer and winter) including parks and plants on main roads and private houses, according to the budget for these contracts,” Khaja said.

Regarding cutting or pruning trees on the roadsides, he stated that there are many reasons for this. “The trees on the 4th Ring Road were pruned to give them a beautiful shape. Also, from the safety aspect, trees should be pruned so they won’t obstruct the vision of drivers, which can be dangerous. Also, there were many complaints filed by the traffic department and the ministry of electricity and water that branches may fall during strong winds, which will cause serious problems on the road,” he pointed out.

He called upon contractors in all areas to speed up necessary maintenance procedures for irrigation networks. “These contractors should be replacing all dead plants and provide cleaning and agriculture works including pruning trees, fertilization and others,” added Khaja.

PAAAFR is in charge of parks and public gardens. “Kuwait is divided into nine agricultural areas in addition to the highways project. We have three-year agricultural beautification contracts for maintenance, developing and execution of landscaping of all areas by agricultural companies. These companies are in charge of all the maintenance works. Sometimes some problems occur, such as during summer when we face a water shortage. The authority is doing its best to preserve plants and trees according to the available budget and resources,” stressed Khaja.

Regarding Shaheed Park, and the reason behind it being in much better condition than other parks and public gardens, Khaja said this park was transferred to the supervision of the Amiri Diwan, which set a huge budget to develop this park to look as it does today. “The PAAAFR unfortunately has a limited budget and resources to take care of parks and public gardens,” he rued.

The deputy director general of agricultural beautification affairs Faisal Al- Saddiqi earlier told KUNA that the number of public gardens in the country increased from 144 to 183, with a total space of 3.65 million square meters. The goal is to further increase the number of gardens to 196, with a total space of 3.9 million square meters, he added.

By Nawara Fattahova

This article was published on 31/03/2016