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ISLAMABAD: Starting from Sept 2, the Ministry of Climate Change will plant 1.5 million saplings a day countrywide and 10 billion in the next five years.

“We will implement the same successful plan that was executed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The strategy to plant 10 billion saplings is ready. Trees are Pakistan’s requirement,” said Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam at a press conference on Thursday.

He said successive governments had ignored important issues of deforestation and the emerging water crisis that Pakistan was likely to face in the future.

“Pakistan is fast losing forests increasing the pollution levels. Lahore alone has lost 75pc trees in the last decade making it one of the most polluted cities in the world,” he said.

Pakistan is already threatened by impacts of global warming. Planting as many saplings as possible is the best answer to all challenges of the changing climate, he added.

He explained that under the slogan of ‘Plant for Pakistan’, plantation schemes would be initiated in 18 cities. The prime minister will launch the drive by planting a sapling in Islamabad.

He also said saplings would be available at 190 green points across the country. He said preference was to plant indigenous species.

“The government will show zero tolerance towards land and timber mafias responsible for deforestation,” he said, adding how provincial governments had also committed to increase forest covers throughout the country.

Mr Aslam said in order to reduce carbon emissions his ministry had plans to abolish the use of plastic bags.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2018