President launches monsoon tree campaign; vows to make country green
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday launched the monsoon tree plantation campaign by planting an olive tree sapling at the Presidency, with a commitment to make the country green and environment-friendly.
The tree plantation campaign is organised every year during spring and monsoon seasons. About 30 million saplings are planned to be planted in the country during the monsoon campaign.
President Zardari said protecting the existing tree cover and planting more trees was essential and part of national obligation as the country faced rapid and asymmetrical climatic patterns and other environmental degradation issues such as global warming. The president said the forest ecosystem of country was under continuous threat due to heavy demand of wood and other forest products.
He said uncontrolled economic development and asymmetrical demographic changes had resulted into severe environmental issues putting acute pressure on natural resource base, especially on the trees and forests.
The president said that deforestation was one of the major reasons for increased pollution, irregular water flow, soil erosion control and availability of medicinal plants and biodiversity conservation.
He said in view of critical role of trees, concerted efforts were required by all the stakeholders, including farmers, civil society organizations, the private sector, students, and media to raise awareness about the importance of trees. The president said that it would also mitigate the adverse impacts of environmental degradation and for providing a sustained renewable source of livelihood.
The president especially urged the farmers to grow trees on their farmlands to help meet the wood fuel requirements, but also helps in poverty alleviation.
He said the participation of farmers through a comprehensive national farm forestry programme was imperative for realising the goals of poverty alleviation and environmental stability. The president also urged the corporate sector to fulfil its corporate social responsibility (CSR) in tree plantation drive.
The president also called upon the provincial governments to launch similar campaigns in the provinces and also to put in place effective mechanisms to reverse the trend of illegal cutting of trees and to encourage all to grow trees.He said in the wake of water shortage and financial constraints, innovative and out of box approaches needed to be adopted to protect and enhance tree cover in the country.
Minister for Climatic Change Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan, Secretary General M Salman Faruqui, President’s Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar, CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal, Forest IG Muhammad Nasir were present at the tree plantation ceremony.