Environmentalists are up in arms over the number of trees in the capital that have been felled recently, and their alarm has not fallen on deaf ears at the regional council office for the environment (Ambiente e Cooperazione tra i Popoli della Regione Lazio). There have been reports of 36 plane trees in Flaminio, 30 pine trees in Via Filippini and around 60 poplars and plane trees in the Ostia area cut down for no apparent reason, the regional councillor for the environment Filiberto Zaratti confirms. He adds that the trees chopped down are tall trees which cost the local government, and therefore the citizens, a great deal of money in terms of planting and maintenance, thereby making them extremely valuable.

These trees are not just decorative, however: they play a vital role in reducing air pollution. Over the course of a year, just one of these trees can remove up to 180 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and if the trees are cut down, this pollutant returns to the air.

"This is not simply a case of tree trimming," the councillor continues, "so this week I shall be asking the Rome city council to explain matters, and verifying whether or not this act goes against regulations on environmental conservation."

A spokesman for the city hall environmental office explained that, with 340,000 trees in the capital (of which 160,000 are found on the streets and the remaining 180,000 in parks and green areas), it was sometimes necessary to fell some of them due to safety issues (for example, roots causing bumps on roads and diseased trees at risk of falling).