LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with commissioner’s office and Pakistan Horticulture Authority for plantation of 0.1 million saplings.

The decision was taken at a meeting of LCCI President Almas Hyder with Commissioner of Lahore Dr Mujtaba Paracha and Chairman of PHA Yasir Gilani at his office on Monday. LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir, Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal and representatives from forests department and Lahore Biennale Foundation were also present.

The commissioner said that deforestation was leading to environmental disorder that needed joint efforts from public and private sectors. He said that around 75% trees in Lahore had removed during the last 10 to 15 years. He stressed the need of massive plantation of indigenous trees for controlling pollution and smog. He said the government departments were also working for tree plantation under the Clean and Green Punjab campaign and would give full cooperation to the civil society. He said that different areas of Lahore had been identified for tree plantation and those could also be provided to the civil society. He said that spaces for plantation have been identified on Bullay Shah Interchange of Lahore Ring Road, Bab-e-Pakistan, Saggian Interchange, Railways land and both sides of canal.

Almas Hyder said that the LCCI would extend all possible cooperation for forestation. He said that it was basic responsibility of everyone to secure the environment for future generations. He said shrinking green cover was posing serious environmental hazards. He urged the government to support plantation drive. He said that land was available at Lahore-Sialkot Motorway, Ferozepur Road and other parts of the city for plantation.

“Forests are not only safeguarding biodiversity and acting as a shield against climate changes but are also equally important for the economic safety of the country”, he added. 

Khawaja Shahzad Nasir and Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal said that forests also resist devastating floods besides being a major source of fresh water, medicine, shelter and employment for people. They said that forestation was one of the most neglected areas and there was a dire need to make joint efforts to protect and enhance forests through public-private partnership.