Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday stressed the need for planting trees and vowed that his government would make a "green Pakistan" by planting 10 billion trees.
The premier was speaking at the Spring Tree Plantation Campaign 2021 that he kicked off in Islamabad earlier today.
He regretted that over the past decades, cities like Lahore and Peshawar that were once known as "garden cities" had turned into "concrete, cement jungles" because of "merciless" deforestation.
He shone a light on the impact of deforestation in the country, saying that not only does cutting down trees lead to an increase in pollution but that it had harmful effects especially for children and the elderly.
The prime minister said that his government had selected sites in Lahore and Islamabad where trees would be planted using the Miyawaki technique, a method that was used in Japan to speed up growth of plants.
"This is the first site in Islamabad [where trees have been planted using the Miyawaki technique]. A jungle that normally takes 30 years to grow can grow in 10 years and also provides more oxygen," he explained.
This is not the first time PM Imran has mentioned the Miyawaki method. He had referred to the technique in earlier this week during the inauguration of a similar plantation drive in Lahore.
In his address today, the premier also discussed the impact of climate change and global warming, saying that Pakistan was among the top 10 most vulnerable countries.
"Growing trees is not just a hobby for us, it is our need," he said and urged students, who were attending the event, to take the campaign seriously by not only planting trees but also protecting them.
"The government can create an atmosphere [for a project]. It can provide funding as well, but it is the nation that can shape its future."
He recalled that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had planted a billion trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during its previous term and now plans to plant 10bn trees across the country. The effort had been acknowledged by international organisations like the WWF who had audited the project in KP, the PM recalled.
The prime minister said his government was also planning to introduce a special course in schools to educate students on the effects of global warming and climate change due to emission of greenhouse gases.
The prime minister has spoken about the dangers posed by global warming an climate change on several occasions and platforms. The 10 Billion Trees Tsunami programme is one of PTI government's flagship projects.