A two-minute video of how Egypt’s new administrative capital contains “a living community that also represents a vertical forest” sparked criticism and ridicule online after it was tweeted by CNN.
Egypt’s new administrative capital will contain a living community that’s also a vertical forest https://t.co/HJOL53jEsC pic.twitter.com/GN1tB7GDQI
— CNN (@CNN) July 15, 2021
According to the video, the vertical forest will consist of three buildings covered with trees and plants that absorb pollution.
With more than 570 different species of trees, they are said to be “designed to save the planet” and “lower the temperature”.
The goal of the vertical forest in the new administrative capital
“The goal is to absorb seven tons of carbon dioxide per year and produce eight tons of oxygen per year,” Samar Zaki, director of development at Misr Italia Real Estate, told CNN.
While their developers have praised their environmental benefits, social media users argue that such buildings embody the class division that the new city will perpetuate and say the entire new capital project poses an environmental threat.
The new capital, estimated to be built at a cost of $45 billion, is part of the “Egypt Vision 2030” launched in 2016 “to achieve the principles and goals of sustainable development in all fields.”
Cairo has a population of over 20 million and is one of the world’s most crowded cities.
The Administrative Capital project is designed not only to face the pollution problem in the capital but also to ease congestion.
The new capital, which is roughly the size of Singapore and has yet to be named, is located in the desert 45 kilometers east of Cairo.
The relocation of parliament, presidential palaces, government ministries and foreign embassies is scheduled to be completed between 2020 and 2022.
While some considered the vertical forest project “beautiful and amazing”, the general consensus was not to agree because only the rich could live there
Water shortage in Egypt
Others highlighted the water shortage in Egypt which could exacerbate the project. “Why not fix Cairo and make it cleaner and healthier?” asked one social media user.
The needs of Cairo’s growing population have already exceeded the capacity of the Nile.
By 2025, it is estimated that water supplies will fall below 500 cubic meters per capita, a level hydrologists typically define as “absolute scarcity”.
Internet users also drew attention to the paradox of the concept of vertical forests, while many trees were cut down in Cairo and other parts of the country.
Read also: The Egyptian Parliament authorizes Sisi to take (whatever it deems appropriate) to protect national water security
Trees have been cut down across Egypt to make way for new urban projects, sparking public anger and prompting some members of parliament to demand new measures to protect them.
In 2018, parliamentarian Anisa Hassouna criticized what she described as “tree massacres” on the streets of Egypt. “It seems the government doesn’t like fresh air,” she said.
The Vertical Forest, designed by Italian architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri, will be the first of its kind in Africa.
Of the three buildings, one will be a hotel, while the remaining two will include residential units.
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