ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said a green Pakistan guaranteed a prosperous future for coming generations and asked the nation to join hands in achieving the target of planting 10 billion trees to fight climate change and environmental pollution.
Speaking at the launching of this year’s monsoon tree plantation drive near Kahuta, the prime minister said that in order to address the growing pollution levels and national environmental degradation it was vital that concerted efforts were made to plant trees extensively across the country.
Mr Khan regretted that forest cover in the country had rapidly depleted over the years and pointed out that as compared to the time of country’s partition from the Indian subcontinent the number of trees had decreased to an alarming level.
The prime minister also mentioned the alarming level of pollution in Lahore and said that lack of trees posed a serious threat to human health. He said the matter would be addressed by his government on a priority basis.
Mr Khan referred to the recent announcement about nine new national parks in the country and said the country had 30 such parks since it gained independence in 1947. He said the number of such exclusive zones, where the plants and trees could grow and wildlife flourish, would be further enhanced in days to come.
Mr Khan said that his government had launched an ambitious project to plant 10 billion trees across the country and in the past two years, the government had planted 30 million trees while new nurseries were working at top speed to increase the number to one billion by June next year.
“I am sure the government will be able to meet this ambitious target of one billion trees in its five-year term,” the prime minister said.
He said that Pakistan had 12 diverse ecological zones and it was a national obligation to preserve and protect the natural systems and its flora and fauna.
“A green Pakistan is my dream,” Mr Khan said as a large number of schoolchildren and their teachers sitting all along the hillside cheered.
“It is my appeal to you to plant a tree, and it is all the more important to protect this seedling so that it grows into a healthy tree; it has to be saved from not only wild animals, but also the mafia that deals in timber,” Mr Khan said.
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2020