He also stressed that the planting of trees is a matter of great interest to the authorities concerned in the country due to its benefits in combating climate change and mitigating the consequences of air pollution, though there are some challenges involved due to the nature of the local environment.
Al-Khouri explained that the MME relies on trees suitable for the Qatari environment, which do not need large quantities of water and are commensurate with the nature of the climate and soil, pointing out that the ministry has its nurseries that supply the State with the plants it needs, as well as distribute them to citizens. He said the department carefully studies the possibility of keeping trees alive and maintaining them with the least possible cost and effort before planting them.
He added that the administration relies on the latest programmes for the care of plants, noting out the focus on shade trees on streets and the diversity of trees in gardens, which provides knowledge to children and adds beauty to these areas. Al-Khouri affirmed that the "new projects depend on shade trees without fruiting, given that most of the roads in Doha are highways, so they do not need permanent care and to play their role in reducing carbon dioxide, dust and harmful and greenhouse gases," according to QNA. He added that green and landscaped areas along streets and parks need continuous follow-up and periodic maintenance.
Al-Khouri said there are 104 public parks throughout Qatar and that the areas of these parks are linked to the availability of land in those places, indicating that the new planning of the State provides a garden and paths for walking and bicycles in every residential square.
Regarding the Plant Million Tree initiative, the director of the Public Parks Department said it comes within the framework of harmonising the environment and health and a reflection of Qatar's signature on many international agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and other environmental agreements that take into account health in their decisions.
He added that the importance of the initiative comes from the fact that green areas are the lungs through which cities breathe, as well as to preserve vegetation cover in Qatar. Further, al-Khouri said the Plant Million Tree initiative, launched by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and contributed to by all State authorities, is considered a part of Qatar's efforts to combat climate change and reduce global warming as stipulated in the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is scheduled to achieve its goals before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, adding it will continue beyond that and the process of afforestation in Qatar will never end, he added.
He said the participation of both the public and private sectors, as well as individuals and other entities, in the initiative are highly welcome and they can contact the department through its website for participation, he added. Al-Khouri informed that most of the trees planted in the country are produced in the MME's nurseries, which produce tens of thousands of tree seedlings every year and some of them are distributed to the public to plant in their houses. He said sometimes private companies are engaged to supply some varieties of imported trees as the demand is ever growing.
He noted that smart automated irrigation systems are being used with little need for workforce, and the system is linked to a centralised station that monitors any leaks and malfunctioning and deals with them immediately. Further, all trees in public areas use treated sewage water of high quality that has undergone stringent tests for safety and purity.