Tree tsunami has turned Baloki area in Punjab green: PM

Updated 01 Aug 2020

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In this 2019 file photo, schoolchildren plant saplings in connection with the 10 billion trees tsunami project at Baloki Nature Reserve Project. — APP/File
In this 2019 file photo, schoolchildren plant saplings in connection with the 10 billion trees tsunami project at Baloki Nature Reserve Project. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Almost a year after Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami programme, the landscape in Baloki has turned green.

“Massive change visible in Baloki, Punjab a year after the government initiated its tree plantation drive. As an environmentalist, it gives me the greatest satisfaction to leave a green Pakistan for our coming generations,” Prime Minister Imran Khan stated in a tweet, on Friday.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that it was a treat to visit Balloki Nature Reserve, near Sheikhupura, after PM Khan inaugurated it in 2019, as part of the plantation drive. “The results in a year are phenomenal,” he said in a tweet. He also posted a before and after video of Baloki, which was completely barren a year ago.

Their messages coincide with observations from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan on World Nature Conservation Day, that remind people about the importance of conserving natural resources and the environment. “Our natural resources are deteriorating due to habitat destruction, deforestation, poaching, illegal wildlife trade, agricultural expansion, industrial development, pollution, use of fertilisers, pesticides and chemicals etc. Nature underpins our societies, health and economies, yet we are destroying it faster than it can replenish itself,” WWF stated.

Mr Aslam, further said: “Boosting tree covers in urban areas through sustainable and community-driven urban forestry initiatives has been made a central part of the country’s largest afforestation programme, launched last year as a part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for the Clean and Green Pakistan Programme.. Urban forestry initiatives under the TBTTP will lead to establishment of green urban forest islands, where indigenous fruit and non-fruit trees will be planted to stem, among others, frequenting and intensifying incidents of heat wave, dust storms, urban flooding, soil degradation due to cloudbursts and air pollution.

Without promoting urban forestry by involving communities, students, corporate sector and other civil society organisations, the country’s various urban areas including Lahore, Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar and Rawalpindi will continue to remain increasingly vulnerable to various socio-economic, environmental problems.”

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2020