Merida to crack down on vandals who cut down trees

Higher fines to match 2015 sanction against Prolongacion car dealership

Automaya on the Prolongacion de Montejo was fined 600,00 pesos in 2015 for chopping down trees on its sidewalk. Photo: File
Automaya on the Prolongacion de Montejo was fined 600,00 pesos in 2015 for chopping down trees on its sidewalk. Photo: File

Merida, Yucatan —  The city is taking a swing at discouraging people from illegally chopping down city trees.

Tree vandalism on public roads could result in fines up to 600,000 pesos (roughly the equivalent of US$31,000). The ax-wielder can also be forced to pay for its replacement, said Mayor Renán Barrera Concha.

Fines will vary based on the tree’s location, age and size.

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The mayor spoke at La Cruzada Forestal (Forest Crusade) 2019, promising a greener Merida. He said that the city’s Urban Development Plan is under review with a draft revision expected by July.

{ Related: Trees planted on the Paseo de Montejo }

{ Related: Vandalized trees replaced }

Barrera Concha recalled that when he was first mayor in 2015, the Automaya Montejo car dealership was fined a then-record 600,000 pesos for illegally clearing several 30-year-old trees that blocked its merchandise from public view.

Over the years, vandals have not only cut down trees they object to, but have poised them with fuel or destroyed their roots with hot water.

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But the trend is reversing and planting trees is a concept that is taking root, he said. More citizens, companies, civic associations and groups are interested in planting trees and taking responsibility for the environment, said the mayor.

“We are looking for policies that allow planting and punish those who cut,” the mayor concluded.

With information from Sipse

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