Centuries-old Trees Destroyed As Rainforest Is Chopped Down For Pope's Visit To Brazil
Centuries-old trees destroyed as rainforest is chopped down for Pope's visit to Brazil to allow...
Centuries-old trees destroyed as rainforest is chopped down for Pope's visit to Brazil to allow pilgrims to celebrate mass
Authorities in Brazil have denounced church leaders as criminals for chopping down more than 300 centuries-old trees in a national park - so pilgrims can celebrate mass during the Pope’s visit to Rio de Janeiro.
Pope Francis will make his first international trip to the world’s largest Roman Catholic country later this month.
Organisers of an event in the diocese of Sao Sebastiao de Itaipu, in the city of Niteroi, claimed they needed to clear an area of Atlantic rainforest to accommodate the expected crowd of up to 800 pilgrims.
A total of 334 trees at the edge of the Serra da Tiririca national park, but also on church-owned land, were felled.
Niteroi's vice-mayor, Axel Grael, claimed the church did not seek permission to ‘deforest’ the land.
He told Brazil's O Globo newspaper: ‘The incident is lamentable. An event for youth should be educational and demonstrate a commitment to the environment and the future. This removal is a criminal act.’
Andre Ilha, from Rio de Janeiro's state environment institute - which is responsible for the forest - said the destruction would never have been allowed.