HARIPUR/Islamabad  -  Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday launched a countrywide drive to plant 10 billion trees across the country within five years to counter challenges of global warming and deforestation.

The prime minister was accompanied by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, Special Assistant to PM on Political Affairs Naeem-ul-Haq, and authorities from the forest department.

The prime minister inaugurated the ’10 Billion Tree Tsunami’ drive by planting a sapling of Deodar specie at Makhniyal area where he had also kicked off Billion Tree Tsunami project of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in 2015.

The first day (today) of the drive was observed as ‘Plant for Pakistan Day’ when around 1.5 million saplings would be planted in a single day across the country.

After launching the drive, the prime minister told media that Pakistan would be the seventh most affected country by global warming so enhancing the forest cover was crucial.

“This is crucial for the generations to come. This is the fight for life and death,” the prime minister remarked. He said though this plantation season was about to end, the government would keep up striving to make this initiative a success.

The prime minister said the PTI government had planted around 1.18 billion in KP during previous term and under this drive, trees would be planted across the country, be it is plains, roadsides or any empty spaces.

To a question, the prime minister said tree plantation was not solely the government’s job rather it was about the whole mankind and the whole nation. Everyone must take part in the campaign to plant trees else the land would turn into a desert as the glaciers were already melting owing to global warming.

He said the massive plantation would also help address the challenge of growing pollution in the cities like smog. He said unfortunately the timbers worth Rs 200 billion were axed during one decade.

Imran said the government would also aware the young generation on importance of trees and forests by inculcating the subject in educational curriculum.

Earlier, talking to APP, Adviser Malik Amin Aslam said the government would adopt the KP model to ensure the success of country’s largest-ever plantation drive. He said around 200 plantation distribution centres had been set up to provide saplings to the people free of charge.

He said excessive plantation was of utmost importance for the country to tackle the challenges of climate change and water shortage.

He said the factors behind the success of billion tree tsunami project were zero tolerance towards timber mafia, effective preservation of forests to allow the regeneration, involvement of private sector and local community.

He said the survival rate of trees in KP had been around 80 percent and hoped that it would be achieved across the country. He said the one billion tree tsunami project had created around 0.5 million jobs and the new drive would generate even more openings.

Amin Aslam said besides enhancing the forest cover, the drive would also help bring green economic development in the country.

He said that today, over 1.5 million trees planted in all districts of the county, adding that the tree plantation drive that was started from KP will now be expanded all across the county.

He said that more than 200 events were held nationwide, while 190 plants distribution points was established for the people to get saplings for plantation.

Amin Aslam said that it was the only option to compete the challenges of climate change in the country. Currently forest cover was declining due to deforestation, he added.

In a video message, the adviser said the government also launched a plant4Pakistan Facebook page to engage general public and achieve the target of planting 10 billion trees in the next five years.

He said the government also initiated Plant for Pakistan Challenge in which people directed to plant a sapling and take selfie with the plant. Later, message that selfie to official plant4Pakistan page on Facebook. Top three selfies with the most likes get exclusive autographed cricket bats from the prime minister, he said.

Amin Aslam said the main focus of the campaign was to plant trees massively on September 2. He said the Billion Tree Tsunami was a successful story in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was recognised both at the national and international levels and that programme had to be spread across the country. He said “If we will not plant trees then our survival will become difficult.”

The adviser said because of climate changes some of the regions of the world which include Pakistan also will become dead zones if timely measures will not be taken. He said forestation plays an important role in bringing more rains, increases water resources which results in bringing up underground water level.

Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), Capital Development Authority (CDA) and National Highway Authority (NHA) also planted more than 40,000 saplings in various parts of the city including Parade Ground Islamabad, Airport Road and Quaid-e-Azam University.

Similarly, in all four provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir tree plantation drive conducted. More than 200 events were held in all major cities across the country.

Students of various universities, school and colleges also participated in one day tree plantation drive.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has planted a sapling at PTV headquarters building in connection with the ‘Plant for Pakistan’ campaign observed on Sunday.

Talking to media, he said Pakistan is among the countries where forest areas have severely been destroyed. He said PTI government had started a Billion Tree Tsunami campaign and planted over one billion saplings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in last five years.

The manifesto of PTI is also clear about environment, he said.

 

 

10 Billion Tree Tsunami drive launched