Green Pakistan Programme; Karachi needs more attention

by M. Wasim

The easiest way to arrest climate change is planting more trees.
This week the Pakistan’s Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) has finally approved finances worth Rs. 3652.142 million for much-awaited project the “Green Pakistan Programme — Revival of Forestry Resources in Pakistan” on the recommendation of Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform. According to this project, which aims at plantation of indigenous and fast growing local tree species, 100 million plants will be added over the next five years throughout the country.
Inspired by the “Great Green Wall Programme” of China, the project has now attained the national and political ownership to put a check on the fast depleting flora and fauna, wastage of water resources, protection and management of wildlife and reclaiming and developing forest areas in Pakistan.
Under the Green Pakistan Programme, a huge plantation drive will be carried out along canal/road sides in Punjab, KP and Sindh, Olive and Kikar Phulai forests in Kala Chitta, Pabbi Rasul and Fort Monroe in Punjab, mangrove forest in Sindh, Juniper in Balochistan and a sizable amount of plantation to check erosion in GB and AJK and etc.
The deforestation rate in Pakistan is the highest in the world. Official figures state that Pakistan’s forest cover at 5% of its total land area but fact contradicts this figure because land cleaned of forest-trees are also included in it. Yet the 5% of the forest area is still low and should be raised to a significant level. According to a report 20% more land of forests are still required to ensure green environment in Pakistan because the global environment standards suggests the country needs 25% forest area for economic stability and environment protection. Raising forests will support green economy and reduce green house gas emissions for goods of planet and environment.

The country needs to raise its forest cover from 5% to 25% to meet its economic, employment and green environment needs. Forest are the source of economic support , employment, oxygen generation, livestock grazing, furniture products, boats, house oven fire, hotel fuels in cities and town, sports goods and construction industry.
The Ministry of Climate Change brought on board the federating units, including province GB, AJK and FATA, prior to development of the roadmap. Assessment of forest resources depletion, use of modern technology and development of immediate and long term forest resource expansion plans are some of the salient features of the programme. As a whole the initiative will ensure far-reaching reform in forestry and wildlife sectors of the country.
However, experts believes government must focus to make mass plantation in Karachi for reducing air pollution and providing clean air to citizens for their good health. The city is the commercial engine of Pakistan to have engaged with 20 million habitants  so it needs special attention for a sustainable environment in both downtown and its suburbs. As estimated Karachi requires 4 to 5 million proper trees within its vicinity, as a healthy tree with length of five meters creates oxygen for four people daily.

Then the Karachi’ coastal belt needs to add Mangroves forests in large as they are important to stabilise shorelines, reduce coastal erosion, protect coasts from storm damage and act as carbon sinks and natural water treatment plants.

By Editorial, Infocus

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