Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Cities nowadays struggle to ensure that their space is doing everything it can to help with climate change. There are an incredible amount of solutions from solar panels, to electric car parking spaces, to advanced compost systems. But last october the mayor of Montreal thought of something that hadn't been considered before: planting plastic trees (Also known as Plasto-dendrology).
The idea behind it is to repurpose an incredible amount of plastic by shaping them into trees which provide shelter for local animals and could improve the aesthetic of the city. The plastic would be taken from recycling plants and melted into the molds for the individual seperate tree components, such as trunks and branches. Then the trees would be assembled and planted all throughout the city, providing shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. Some would argue that this artistic re-purposing of plastic fits right into the general quirky-ness of the city. Those who argue for the project also state that it would create more jobs and empty landfills. People might be more inclined to recycle if they know that their plastic will become art.
So far these statements hold up, since the city proposes to hire a significant amount of artists who would design and assemble the trees along with plastic engineers. Another benefit to plastic-trees is that they are invicible towards the harsh winters here in Canada. The greenery would be a pleasant view in an otherwise grey season. After the distressing year that was 2020, a little bit of green and a small boost to the economy don't seem like bad things.
However, others would disagree.
The main argument stemming from those against the project (or as they call themselves anti-plasto-dendrologists), is that they like their plastic where it is. They say that the current recycling system works great and there is simply no need to "go meddling with it". It apparently makes them uncomfortable knowing that the bottle of water they drank today could be planted in their nearby park. As they put it: "keep the plastic where it should be. That is, out of sight."
Another debatable aspect of the project is where the funding will be from. Some argue that it fits into the city's general green initiative budget, whereas others argue that it should be considered as an artistic endeavour and therefore should have to apply for grants like any other art project. There are also rumours that an upper Westmount lawyer has personal interest, and might fund the project entirely as long as her daughter (who just graduated with a degree in fine arts) can lead the project.
In the end, it will be up to the city as to whether or not the project will move forward. There are valid arguments on both sides and it will be decided based on funding, green initiatives, and public opinion.