ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change said on Wednesday that the cabinet has approved Rs7.5 billion for the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami (10 BTT) project, and the Central Development Working Party is set to clear the project in the coming days.

Mr Aslam said Pakistan requires special attention to counter the impact of climate change. He highlighted the success of the Billion Tree Plantation project by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, which he said has also been acknowledged by international bodies.

“We should not politicise this tree plantation project, nor should we sacrifice the 10 billion trees project on political grounds. All provinces are participating in it,” he said.

He said that under the project, the federal government’s share is Rs7.5bn and the equivalent sum will be pooled by the provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the four-year 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project.

He added that the Billion Tree Afforestation Project (BTAP) has become “a launching pad for 10 BTT”.

Under the 10 billion tree project, KP will have a target of 1.5 billion as well Sindh, mainly in mangrove areas. Punjab will plant around 1bn trees, but reforestation and afforestation will be a challenge in Balochistan.

The army has extended support for reforestation in Sindh’s kacha areas, he said.

Mr Aslam said the project will include upgrading the mechanism for fighting forest fires.

He said forest fights are global phenomenon due to climate change.

“Forest fires in KP have mostly occurred due to negligence and irresponsible behaviour by tourists visiting forests in the province, and pinecones are highly inflammable during hot weather. We will incorporate the best forest fire fighting paraphernalia in the latest project to prevent such disastrous incidents.

He also praised journalists for visiting activity sites of the BTAP and said the media was the most effective source of information and public awareness.

He said all the people involved in the BTAP would be paid their wages and no one would be left behind.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2019

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