Uzbekistan: Authorities 'paint withered trees' green

Withered firs in front of a My Favourite Tree exhibit. Photo: Nas Why? art group, Uzbekistan, via neweurasia.net
Image caption Need sprucing up? The art installation shows up the fir trees' sorry state

Uzbek authorities appear to have found a simple remedy when trees wither in the heat: paint them green.

Fir trees planted in recent years have struggled to adapt to the arid Central Asian country's hot climate, so are being "retouched" by teams of workers using up to six aerosols per tree, reports the Podrobno news site. Another website, Uzmetronom.com, said it "recalled the experience of the Turkestan military district" - as the region was labelled by the Soviets and Russian Empire before them - when commanders would have the lawn around their units painted green during summer.

In recent years, authorities in the capital Tashkent have been criticised for chopping down plane trees, which "have been protecting the locals from sun for centuries", reports Ferghana news agency. As the firs struggled, special tents were apparently erected to protect them. And even when that measure failed, the authorities continued planting with "enviable persistence", the agency said. Reacting to this passion for firs, a Tashkent art-group Nas Why? organized an art exhibition "My Favourite Tree". Police were later looking for the organizers, without success, according to NewEurasia.net.

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