Punjab govt's climatic vision surely deserves huge appreciation

Pakistan at present has one of the lowest levels of forest cover in the region, and well below the 12% recommended by the United Nations

Everyone within Pakistan is aware of this critical fact that Pakistan currently is standing within those specific lands that are witnessing disastrous climatic change. The shifting weather patterns and extreme climates have been very visible, an apt example of which is the super-flood in 2010 that killed 1600 people, and affected an area of 38600 square kilometers along with a financial loss of more than $10 billion. Then, the 2015 heatwave in Karachi is one more example that led to the death of more than 1200 people.  

Over the years, the timber mafia in Pakistan have illegally cut thousands of trees, which climatic experts consider a major reason behind country’s vulnerable weather condition. However, the newly elected Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led Punjab government appears to be very much committed to deal with this climatic crisis. 

In this regard, the Punjab Agriculture Department has started tree plantation throughout the province under “Prime Minister Green Program.” Under the program, the Agriculture Department is given a target to plant one million saplings, and it is believed that this would leave a positive impact on the ongoing climate changes besides improving agriculture.

This great vision of the present Punjab government is visible from the fact that staff of the forest department and district administration this Sunday planted 16000 saplings in Punjab’s second biggest forest situated near Kamalia along river Ravi. To confirm this amazing achievement, the Deputy Commissioner Ahmad Khawar Shahzad claimed that 16000 plants were planted in just 42 seconds, which was a world record, and more than 4000 people from all walks of life including civil society, students of both government and private schools, officials, policemen and volunteers took part in the drive.

It is important to mention that PTI is the only political party within Pakistan that has evidently taken such an initiative and looked forward in devising policies on the environmental protection. As far as tree plantation is concerned, PTI during their earlier government in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province superbly executed the “Billion Tree Tsunami” project, under which 350,000 hectares of trees both by planting and natural regeneration were added, in order to restore the province’s depleted forests and fight the effects of climate change.     

The tree plantation drive now in Punjab is a continuation of this brilliant approach, and surely Prime Minister Imran Khan must be applauded for ensuring initiation of this program in Punjab, and also consistently advocating this point that why Pakistan massively needs steps like these.

One must understand that this is an initiative that needs support from every faction of the society as it is not confined to a single political party, it is about benefit of the whole nation. Pakistan at present has one of the lowest levels of forest cover in the region, and well below the 12% recommended by the United Nations (UN). Therefore, we as proud citizens of this country should come forward and support this great cause, and also contribute in whatever capacity we can.

The writer has completed MPhil in Mass Communication from Beaconhouse National University, and passionately loves travelling and cricket.

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