ISLAMABAD-A massive campaign is required, with the same passion once witnessed in the last monsoon season, to sensitize the residents about taking optimum care for eventually ensuring maximum survival of the planted saplings in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Environmentalists have passionately urged the masses to play a proactive role to lessen the adverse impacts of global warming, and to keep the temperature two degree Celsius below from the current level, a limit endorsed by the world leaders, by utilizing all platforms including social media, print and electronic media.   

Talking to APP on Tuesday, the experts stressed for active public participation as planting a tree did not mean that the job was done as constant observation and vigilance are imperative for ensuring survival of saplings. Deputy Media Coordinator, Ministry of Climate Change Saleem Shaikh said “We have been achieving the ideal survival rate of the trees which was over 60 percent since 2007 but this is a prime time to only focus on post-plantation care during the ongoing season.” It was globally recognized that the sustainability of a sapling did play a vital role in its survival”, he remarked. He stressed on the role of teachers, non-governmental organizations, corporate sector and students to nurture a plant by providing necessary look-after as they played their due role in recent afforestation campaign, which was also recognized by World Economic Forum. “Our teams are sensitizing the public, especially students, on how to save the plants from the affects of cold, by covering these saplings with plastic sheets during night hours,” he said.

“It really runs in the blood of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government to make Pakistan clean and green but it should not be limited to its mandate since it is a national cause and requires collective efforts,” he added.  Saleem said the Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has also made it imperative to ensure monitoring of planted saplings, besides plantation campaign. Another official of Ministry of Climate Change, requesting anonymity, emphasized on providing regular vigilance to the trees, terming them “lungs of the earth”. Stressing on establishing the monitoring cell, the official said, “The Ministry set the target of 1,500,000 and had planted over 2.5 million trees in the last season” and questioned who will make sure that 100 per cent end up surviving. The authorities concerned, he said, claimed over 70 per cent survival rate of planted saplings but in his opinion, even if 5 million trees survive per year, it would definitely help herald greenery across the country.

Ibrar Shanwari, Chairman Department of Environmental Sciences, International Islamic University Islamabad said there was a need to set up monitoring cells to ensure a long term surveillance of the planted saplings as “without proper care almost 60 per cent of the saplings will perish at the initial stage”. He also stressed on the need to launch awareness campaigns by using social media platform as most of the volunteer-planters were oblivious of the planting care. ‘Right time, right species and right place should be the main priorities if we want to achieve maximum growth rate,” he added. He stressed on making tree plantation a part of the educational curriculum to sensitize the next generation about the importance of afforestation. Muhammad Khalid Razzaq, a resident of Sector I-9 pointed out that the unruly protesters had recently destroyed the saplings, planted along the roadside that needed urgent attention of authorities concerned. Capital Development Authority Director Environment Irfan Niazi said the department’s teams were taking care of the saplings and were fully prepared to plant trees in the next season, which would start by February, having a stock of over 250,000.