ISLAMABAD: The capital is gradually losing its greenery despite the fact that the government launches mega plantation drives annually under which thousands of saplings are planted in every nook and cranny of the city.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) shows great enthusiasm during the plantation phase, with officials posing for photos while planting saplings. However, this passion ebbs shortly thereafter.

With the CDA lacking an effective mechanism to monitor newly-planted trees or sufficient staff to look after each sapling, most of them wither and die within days after their plantation. This has raised a question on the survival rate of these saplings.

Sector F-8 resident Dr Irshad Khan said that greenery, which was once a hallmark of Islamabad, now only exists in the lawns of houses in some of the posh sectors of the city.

To make his point, he pointed to the green belt located in his area and claimed that it had the largest number of dead trees. Preservation of old trees is a common practice in the developed countries, but the concerned quarters do not pay any heed towards it, another resident Shazia Khan said.

The CDA carries out a two-day tree plantation campaign every year in which thousands of saplings are planted. Surprisingly, the result is quite opposite with the tree cover in Islamabad continuing to recede at an alarming rate.

Meanwhile, a CDA official claimed that the authority had increased the number of new saplings from 400,000 to 500,000 during the last Spring Tree Plantation Campaign.

Out of the total saplings planted, over 50 per cent plants had taken root owing to strict monitoring, while further measures will be taken to improve their survival he said.