Campaign against palm trees in Casablanca

Environmental activists in Casablanca have reiterated their call for a halt to the planting of date palms on the avenues of the Kingdom’s economic capital. 

They launched a petition on this environmental issue and then addressed the RNI mayor of Casablanca, Nabila Rmili. The petitioners also insisted on replacing the palm trees with other shade trees, stressing that this idea should be generalized in other Moroccan cities to improve the city’s green spaces. 

They called for urgent action to stop this practice, which is damaging the city’s urban and civilizational heritage. This is to be achieved by banning the planting of ‘roumi’ palms in the city and ‘beldi’ palms outside their natural environment. 
Commenting on this ecological demand, Moulay Ahmed Afilal, vice-president of the Casablanca municipality, told L’Opinion: “We understand their vision and welcome the interest environmental activists have in the image of the city. However, it is not possible to uproot the palm trees that have existed in the city for years, given that they are an integral part of the city’s image”. 

He adds: “Date palms are first protected by a Dahir(Dahir n° 1-07-42 du 28 rabii I 1428 -17 avril 2007) promulgating law n° 01-06 relating to the sustainable development of palm groves and protecting the date palm “Phoenix dactylifera”, published in the BO on May 5, 2007. Under this law, it is formally forbidden to uproot a date palm without written authorization from the administration, even if it is to replant it elsewhere. 
Law 01-06 stipulates that authorization to uproot a palm tree can only be granted in certain specific cases, i.e. where the tree is dead, seriously mutilated or suffering from an irreversible disease that requires uprooting with a view to replanting. 
There’s no shortage of trees in 
Casablanca, so we’re going to let the palm trees go and make other trees out of them. No measures are planned in this respect. A short stroll along a few boulevards, notably Moulay Youssef and Moulay Ismaïl, is enough to notice the beauty of the palm trees.  Other neighborhoods, such as Anfa and other working-class districts, are rich in trees. Some of the city’s communes, such as Aïn Sebaa and Aïn Chok, are pursuing their afforestation strategy according to the needs of each commune, Mr. Afilal added. 
According to Mr. Afilal, the city council and mayor are particularly interested in green spaces. They have therefore set themselves the goal of creating new green spaces and enhancing existing ones. Their work program aims to create at least one tree for every family in the city.

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