Rs1b approved for ‘Green Pak­istan Pro­gramme’

Pakistan Observer - - NATIONAL -

ISLAMABAD—Sec­re­tary Cli­mate Change Min­istry Syed Abu Ah­mad Akif said on Tues­day that an amount of Rs 1 bil­lion have been approved for the Prime Min­is­ter’s Green Pak­istan Pro­gramme (GPP) to boost tree cover in the coun­try as a part of the present govern­ment’s ef­forts for achiev­ing cli­mate-re­silience.

“This is en­cour­ag­ing to see the present govern­ment’s se­ri­ous­ness to­wards fight­ing de­for­esta­tion and in­creas­ing area un­der trees, which is cen­tral to achiev­ing na­tional cli­mate re­silience,” the Sec­re­tary told a me­dia brief­ing here. The five-year pro­gramme aims to mit­i­gate cli­mate change-in­duced risks par­tic­u­larly floods, land and river ero­sion, land degra­da­tion, de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion and fight air pol­lu­tion.

It also aims to en­cour­age all seg­ments of so­ci­ety to plant trees for their own ben­e­fits and to se­cure fu­ture of the next gen­er­a­tions to come. The sec- re­tary said that it’s a mat­ter of sorry that the share of the coun­try’s forestry sec­tor in na­tional GDP is un­der­es­ti­mated at 0.33 per­cent, mainly due to non-val­u­a­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­log­i­cal ser­vices of forests.

He em­pha­sized “We must raise aware­ness among the pol­icy mak­ers, politi­cians and the peo­ple about the un­prece­dented so­cio-eco­nomic and health-re­lated ben­e­fits of the forestry and en­gage them in coun­try’s over­all ef­forts for fight­ing de­for­esta­tion and in­crease tree cover.” He said that an im­prov­ing air qual­ity must be ranked as a top na­tional health and de­vel­op­ment pri­or­ity. For, in­creas­ing air pol­lu­tion lev­els are putting the health of mil­lions of peo­ple in the coun­try at risk and have proved a ma­jor road­block to ef­forts be­ing taken achiev­ing for over­all en­vi­ron­men­tal de­vel­op­ment goals.

“We must have to strive hard to tackle air pol­lu­tion and it re­quires ef­fec­tive mech­a­nism to mon­i­tor air qual­ity for durable main­te­nance of air qual­ity stan- dards in con­form­ity with the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s stan­dards,” the Sec­re­tary added. He said that be­fore de­vo­lu­tion of en­vi­ron­ment to the provinces un­der the 18th amend­ment, an ef­fec­tive air qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem was op­er­a­tional.

Syed Abu Ahmed Akif said that air qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing has been re­vived in Sindh and Pun­jab and it was hoped that the same would be­gin in other provinces to fight surg­ing lev­els of air pol­lu­tion, which has ag­gra­vated with ris­ing num­ber of ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic in ur­ban ar­eas of the coun­try. The min­istry had ap­proached the Health Min­istry to join the cli­mate change min­istry’s ef­forts to com­pletely bank the ve­teri­nary drug to save vul­tures from extinction for the sake of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and con­ser­va­tion, he said.

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