The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) is undeniably a political party which adopts an environment friendly approach and is more conscious about countering the negative effects of climate change than its rivals. PTI prioritised environment-friendly policies during its majority in the KP government, and it has double down on such policies as the Federal Government too.

A part of that effort was seen on Saturday when Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a spring tree plantation campaign at Balloki, Nankana Sahib. During the drive, the PM stressed the importance of protecting Pakistan’s forests, noting that forest cover in Pakistan is very low as compared to the rest of the countries in the region. He also stated that Pakistan’s forests were reducing at an alarming rate, lamenting the fact that large forests in Chichawatni, Mianwali and Changa Manga had all but disappeared now.

Increasing deforestation is a massive problem for Pakistan. The terms “global warming” and “environment protection” may seem like a secondary issue for most people but they fail to realise the very real effects on daily life that such phenomena has. Fewer forests leads to air contamination, which has harmful consequences on people’s health and contributes to the smog that has started appearing every winter, which causes increase in breathing problems and road side accidents.

One of PTI’s proposed solutions towards countering this menace is to retrieve forest land leased out in Punjab. Another policy to be adopted is to plant more trees. In this regard, PTI has a good record. PTI’s Billion Tree Tsunami policy was successful and restored 350,000 hectares of trees in KP. The government seems dedicated to replicate the results nationally as well, as it has held several plantation drives across the country since taking up office. Hopefully the drive in Nankana Sahib will bring awareness of environment protection in Punjab where it is a neglected issue.