LAHORE: The Parks & Horticulture Authority (PHA) on Sunday organised a ‘flag march’ of its water tankers and other equipment ahead of the ‘Clean & Green Pakistan and Tree Plantation Campaign’ to be inaugurated formally by Prime Minister Imran Khan on August 4 by opening the “world’s biggest” Miyawaki urban forest and other environment-related projects in Lahore.
The premier’s August 4 Lahore visit has been confirmed by his adviser on climate change Malik Aslam, who has also conveyed to the PHA administration in this regard, Dawn has learnt.
“We have been informed by Mr Aslam that the PM is scheduled to visit Lahore [on Aug 4] and inaugurate the a Miyawaki urban forest near Saggian, which is according to our research the biggest in the world, spreading over 100 kanals. India’s Miyawaki forest in Gujarat is the second largest,” PHA Director General Jawad Qureshi told Dawn on Sunday, adding it comprised 160,000 trees and plants while the India’s had 125,000 trees.
The PHA’s flag march was led by its senior officials. It started from the Jilani Park, Jail Road, and after passing through various city arteries, including Mall Road, Istanbul Chowk, Canal Road, concluded at its originating point.
“The purpose of this march is not only to create awareness among the people about tree planting, but also to create enthusiasm among the PHA’s gardeners and officers to ensure their active participation in the campaign under which we are going to plant as many as 560,000 trees this monsoon,” Mr Qureshi said on the occasion.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister’s adviser Asif Mahmood and PHA senior officials visited the Miyawaki forest near Saggian and inspected the development and plantation work there.
“We have named this forest as China Park Saggian Bridge Miyawaki Forest. It will greatly help us improve the environmental conditions in Lahore,” the adviser said. The PHA had already developed dozens of Miyawaki forests in the city on its own, as well as in collaboration with the private sector, he added.
Earlier the PHA DG told Dawn that another forest spreading over 50 kanals was being developed in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park. “The Saggian and Gulshan-i-Iqbal forests are being developed purely with the PHA’s own financial resources. The per kanal cost of developing Miyawaki forest is about Rs500,000,” he added.
Miyawaki technique was developed by 93-year-old Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, an expert in plant bionetwork and a specialist in seeds and study of natural forests. It is worldwide used for restoration of natural vegetation on degraded land and helps build dense and native forests. The approach is supposed to ensure that plant growth is 10 times faster and the resulting plantation is 30 times denser than usual.
The PHA started work on the project in Lahore last year to help improve the city’s deteriorating environmental situation. It is partially funded by the private sector. According to the authority it has so far developed 53 such forests in Lahore, while another 22 are being developed in LDA’s three housing schemes, including LDA Avenue-I, Jubilee Town and Mohlanwal Scheme.
Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2021