HARIPUR: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday launched a countrywide drive here to plant 10 billion trees across the country within five years to counter challenges of global warming and deforestation.
The prime minister was accompanied by Chief Minister KP Mehmood Khan, Advisor on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, Special Assistant to PM on Political Affairs Naeem-ul-Haq, and authorities from the forest department.
The prime minister inaugurated the ’10 Billion Tree Tsunami’ drive by planting a sapling of Deodar specie at Makhniyal area where he had also kicked off Billion Tree Tsunami project of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in 2015. The first day (today) of the drive was observed as ‘Plant for Pakistan Day’ when around 1.5 million saplings would be planted in a single day across the country. After launching the drive, the prime minister told media that Pakistan would be the seventh most affected country by global warming so enhancing the forest cover was crucial.
“This is crucial for the generations to come. This is the fight for life and death,” the prime minister remarked.
He said though this plantation season was about to end, the government would keep up striving to make this initiative a success. The prime minister said the PTI government had planted around 1.18 billion in KP during previous term and under this drive, trees would be planted across the country, be it is plains, roadsides or any empty spaces. To a question, the prime minister said tree plantation was not solely the government’s job rather it was about the whole mankind and the whole nation. Everyone must take part in the campaign to plant trees else the land would turn into a desert as the glaciers were already melting owing to global warming.
He said the massive plantation would also help address the challenge of growing pollution in the cities like smog. He said unfortunately the timbers worth Rs 200 billion were axed during one decade.
Prime Minister Imran said the government would also aware the young generation on importance of trees and forests by inculcating the subject in educational curriculum.
Earlier, Advisor Malik Amin Aslam said the government would adopt the KP model to ensure the success of country’s largest ever plantation drive.
He said around 200 plantation distribution centers had been set up to provide saplings to the people free of charge. He said excessive plantation was of utmost importance for the country to tackle the challenges of climate change and water shortage. He said the factors behind the success of billion tree tsunami project were zero tolerance towards timber mafia, effective preservation of forests to allow the regeneration, involvement of private sector and local community.
He said the survival rate of trees in KP had been around 80 percent and hoped that it would be achieved across the country. He said the one billion tree tsunami project had created around 0.5 million jobs and the new drive would generate even more openings.
Amin Aslam said besides enhancing the forest cover, the drive would also help bring green economic development in the country.