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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s flood water is an ecological resource which should be stored and utilised instead of being wasted every year, the adviser to the prime minister on climate change said on Tuesday.

“We need to focus on storing flood water which can be used to recharge the aquifer, flushing polluted lakes and ponds and for the creation of a better habitat for migratory birds, with minimal social cost,” Malik Amin Aslam said told officials of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) at a meeting in the climate change ministry.

Mr Aslam directed the concerned departments to carry out a detailed comparative study by keeping in view experiences in China and other international modules and then submit recommendations for alterations in the current flood control strategy to obtain maximum benefit from the floodwater.

He said Pakistan needs an integrated and comprehensive approach towards flood water management to gain the maximum benefit and minimise the risk factors with a minimised social cost and is a way to adapt to the effects of climate change.

WWF representatives gave a detailed presentation to the adviser on climate change regarding a workable and cost effective strategy for rational use of flood water and to stop the wastage of the water.

In a separate meeting with the UNDP Country Director Ignacio Artaza, Malik Amin Aslam talked about the numerous environmental challenges Pakistan is facing and said that it is endeavouring to minimise the effects of climate change.

“We intend to transform our mega national parks into world class international tourist resorts which will change the perception about of the country,” Mr Aslam said.

The advisor said the project of planting a billion trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the new project for ten billion trees countrywide are steps towards achieving these goals.

“We observed a tree plantation day on Sept 2 which received extra ordinary response from people, especially from the younger generation participated enthusiastically in the drive. Our target was to plant 1.5 million trees in a day but in the end, 2.5 million trees were planted,” he said.

Mr Aslam urged UNDP to join hands with the climate change ministry in financing a third party audit of the government’s ten billion tree plantation project, in the implementation of the recommendations made by the ‘Smog Commission’ and other areas of mutual concern.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2018