27m trees planted countrywide under ‘Green Pakistan Programme’, Senate body told
ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel was informed on Wednesday that 27 million trees have been planted countrywide from February-June 2017-18 under Green Pakistan Programme.
The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change met here under the chairpersonship of Senator Sitara Ayaz to discuss country’s forestry related issues and tree plantation drives across the country. The meeting was informed that the ministry has set a target of planting 30 million trees across the country for next year.
The Senate body reviewed the progress and budget of tree plantation under the Green Pakistan Programme, cleaning of nullahs before monsoon, shortage of water in the federal capital and steps taken for beautification of the federal capital.
The additional joint secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, briefing the committee members said that the main purpose of Green Pakistan Programme was to promote wildlife across the country and enhance the forest areas. He said the project being implemented after the approval of PC-1 with Rs3.65 billion cost, will be completed in next five years under which a total of 100 million trees of various forms including followers, fruits and others will be planted across the country.
He added that the 100 million trees are being plantation in the environmental zone which includes the banks of canals, rivers, national highways and other major roads across the country.
Enhancing timber coastal forest, ensuring sanober and chilgoza forest protection, taking steps for preventing watershed and land-sliding along the River Indus and Guzara Forest and protection of natural forests were included in the project.
The work has been started in 111 districts of the country, and three major projects about forest including 100 million trees of which 26 percent will be of various qualities of fruits and flowers. Talking about the already planted trees, the official said that so far 27 million trees under the programme have been planted which include fruits, flowers and others.
Briefing on the preservation of wildlife, the officials said that the government is taking all possible steps to protect the wildlife for which forest departments in four provinces have also launched an awareness campaign to educate the masses on the importance of forests. Giving details of the 27 million planted trees, the officials said that 6 million trees were planted in Punjab, 2.68 million in Sindh, 7.8 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and 0.7 million in Balochistan, 2.5 million in Gilgit-Baltistan, 0.2 million in Islamabad, and 0.5 million in erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
Senator Dr Sikandar Mendro said actual hard task isn’t tree plantation but protecting them to grow is the actual task, saying that the Ministry of Climate Change must present a report to the panel within next three months on the progress of tree plantation drive.
The chairperson committee said that that Pakistan’s environment is facing multiple challenges in form of climate change, deforestation, air pollution and population explosion. She added, “We need to focus on environmental issues for our survival and for the future of our generations.”
Ayaz highlighted overall environmental problems of the country. She also highlighted environmental degradation pertaining to Rawal Dam and Islamabad and expressed her concerns over the issues.
The officials said that in 2005, last national census on the state of forests was conducted in the country, adding that tree plantation is among one of the best long-term measures to effectively face natural calamities. They said that the government is making all-out efforts in this connection but to have success the people need to come forward to help government in this regard.
The panel also discussed water shortage problem being faced in major cities, like Karachi, drainage situation and ways to manage floods.