Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday kicked off a countrywide 'Clean Green Pakistan' drive to tackle the challenges of rising pollution and global warming and with a resolve to create a Pakistan "even cleaner than Europe".
The prime minister launched the drive at Islamabad College for Girls by planting a sapling and sweeping the lawn of the college.
Khan was accompanied by his Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, Special Assistants Iftikhar Durrani and Naeemul Haq and Senator Faisal Javed besides representatives of international organisations.
Holding the broom, the white-clad prime minister also picked up garbage and disposed it off before proceeding to wash his hands, setting an example for youngsters to follow proper cleanliness methods.
On the first day of the nationwide movement, ceremonies were held across the country to clean various localities and plant trees, attended by citizens as well as government authorities.
While addressing the ceremony in Islamabad, the prime minister congratulated the students and teachers of the college for holding a successful launching ceremony of the five-year-long drive for a cleaner and greener Pakistan.
Khan recalled the role played by students for fundraising of Shaukat Khanum Hospital across the country and urged them to replicate the same dedication for this drive.
The premier expressed concerns over polluted rivers in the country and pollution rising to an alarming level in Lahore, particularly in winter.
He said according to a study, excessive pollution shortens life expectancy by 11 years on average.
“The rising pollution will mar the future of our upcoming generations,” he added.
He said besides cleanliness, enhancement of the green cover was equally essential as Pakistan was the 7th-most affected country for global warming.
He said after successful completion of a 'billion-tree tsunami' in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the government had launched a five-year '10-billion tree tsunami' across the country.
Khan said the glaciers will deplete fast if the world failed to tackle the challenge of global warming and the planet will become unlivable for the future generations.
He hoped that after plantation of 10 billion trees, the weather pattern of the country would be changed altogether.
The prime minister said the cleanliness drive will not remain confined to posh areas but it will also cover the slums and reiterated his governments plan to regularise and provide housing to slum dwellers.
The drive also includes the construction of landfill sites in all areas to ensure proper disposal of garbage.
The prime minister also interacted with representatives of international organisations and shared with them the government's future plans to cope with climate change and global warming.
Later, Advisor Aslam told APP the government would change the public mindset and behaviour to make this initiative a success.
He said the drive would be funded by both the government as well as donors.