ISLAMABAD    -   Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Tuesday said all-out efforts are being taken for clean green Pakistan to overcome growing challenges of environmental degradation, particularly pollution, and unmanaged solid waste littering in cities and towns of the country.

A statement released by the ministry referring to SAPM said that the incumbent government was focusing on transforming overall outlook of the cities, which would play key economic roles in the coming days. “Marked by reckless discarding of solid waste for want of proper waste dispose-of facilities, our cities have become hugely polluted and fast becoming unliveable,” Malik Amin remarked.

However, the prime minister launched an ambitious Clean Green Pakistan Index (CGPI) last year in November for tackling these very urban environmental challenges, so as to provide the people with healthy liveable condition, he said.

CGPI encourages competition among cities on various indicators, including public access to drinking water, safe sanitation, effective solid waste management and tree plantation. The initiative primarily weighs up clean and green characters of the cities on 35 indicators under these five pillars. This index will be used as a benchmark for making annual budgetary allocations to the provinces from the national kitty.

Malik Amin told media that in the initial phase of the CGPI, 20 cities of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces including Attock, Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Okara and Bahawalpur were selected to compete on certain issues of public interest.

The selected cities are being judged on addressing issues such as safe drinking water, solid waste management, liquid waste management, city beautification, cleanliness of streets, the usability of parks, tree plantation, total sanitation/hygiene and community participation, he added.