“Barbarians in the Garden City” in the Katowice edition of Gazeta Wyborcza

Marek Skwara published a letter entitled “Barbarians in the Garden City” in the Katowice edition of Gazeta Wyborcza in which a history of GOP Green Forest Belt dating 1968 and a recent tree logging, which started in 2019 in Muchowiec Natural Park.

The Forest Protection Belt includes the forest ranges, landscape parks surrounding the GOP and individual cities of the conurbation, and in Katowice, among others, the Ochojec Nature Reserve, Murckowski Forest and the Katowice Forest Park, of which Muchowiec is part. For years, serving the inhabitants with its fauna and flora, lakes, developed with walking and bicycle paths, with separate lanes for roller skating, with a renewable tree stand, as it seemed, in a thoughtful and rational way for decades, respecting the principles of sustainable development. It made life in an environment devastated by industry, more tolerable. Suddenly, at the turn of last year and this year, there was a massive attack on the flyover stand. Entire stretches of the Park were cut down, for sure hundreds or even thousands of trees under the pretext of, as it was called, tree stand renewal. What has been done harmoniously so far, fragmentarily, is now taking place massively and totally. You don't need much imagination to realize that the return to Muchowiec, as we used to know from the past, will take several dozen years.

There is an irresistible impression that the action is part of the scenario, liberated by the decisions of the former minister of environmental protection Jan Szyszka, of cutting down the historic forest stand of the Białowieża Primeval Forest, but also large stretches owned by State Forest Enterprise, which is carried out not for sanation, but purely commercial purposes, to obtain wood masses and a sudden increase in the state budget with income from their sale.

And probably statistically forest acreage will not change, forest cover in Katowice will still be among the highest in Poland, but the actual amount of trees and forest quality will be worse, and oxygen production will be much poorer. Success in the fight against smog will move into an undefined future, and the standard of living in Katowice will deteriorate. Will Katowice still be the City of Gardens in this situation?

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