208m trees planted dur­ing spring sea­son

Pakistan Observer - - TWIN CITIES - STAFF RE­PORTER

ISLAMABAD—Dur­ing spring sea­son this year, 26.5 per­cent more trees against the tar­get were planted across the coun­try. Cli­mate Change Min­istry me­dia spokesper­son, Saleem Shaikh told me­dia here on Sun­day that a tree plan­ta­tion tar­get of 153 mil­lion was set for the spring sea­son dur­ing a high-level in­ter-min­is­te­rial and in­ter-pro­vin­cial meet­ing held in the cli­mate change min­istry on Jan­uary 29.

The meet­ing was chaired by the Cli­mate Change Min­is­ter Zahid Hamid, who had ap­proved the tar­get. “But 208 mil­lion trees were planted dur­ing the three-month spring sea­son, which is stag­ger­ingly 55 mil­lion more than trees planted against the tar­get of 153 mil­lion trees in short span of three months,” Saleem Shaikh said.

The spring sea­son be­gins from mid of late Fe­bru­ary and lasts till end of April. Giv­ing break-up of the spring tree plan­ta­tion tar­get achieved and set, the cli­mate change me­dia spokesper­son said Pun­jab for­est de­part­ment planted 13.92 mil­lion trees against tar­get of 12.09 mil­lion trees fol­lowed by Khy­ber-Pakhtunkhwa 175.64 mil­lion trees against the tar­get of 123 mil­lion trees, Sindh 7.1 mil­lion trees against 6.799 mil­lion trees, Balochis­tan 1.093 mil­lion trees against 1.5 mil­lion trees, Azad Jammu & Kash­mir 3.157 mil­lion trees against 1.3 mil­lion trees, Gil­gitBaltistan 0.711 mil­lion trees against 1.1 mil­lion trees, FATA 4.389 against 4 mil­lion trees, Cap­i­tal Devel­op­ment Author­ity 2,59000 trees against 300,000 trees, Na­tional High­way Author­ity 70,034 trees against 1,25,000 trees, Min­istry of De­fence 6,30,000 trees against 700,000 trees, Heavy Tax­ila In­dus­try 3,610 trees against 5,000 trees, Pak­istan Or­di­nance Fac­tory 9,200 trees against 15,000 trees and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion IUCN planted 100,000 trees against 250,000.

He said that tree plan­ta­tion tar­gets are set twice a year for spring sea­son (Fe­bru­ary-March) and mon­soon sea­son (June-Septem­ber). †re plan­ta­tions dur­ing these two cru­cial sea­son are vi­tal to boost tree cover to make the coun­try cli­mate-proof.

“Role of forests in tack­ling cli­mate change im­pacts, par­tic­u­larly floods, soil, wind and river ero­sions, sea-level rise, er­ratic and tor­ren­tial rains, is now be­ing rec­og­nized glob­ally and so by the present Pak­istani gov­ern­ment,” he said. Pak­istan is home to forests over around 800,000 hectares, which con­sti­tutes to be five per­cent of the to­tal land mass of the coun­try.

“But the coun­try loses forests over some 27,000 hectares ev­ery year. This trend of de­for­esta­tion has ex­posed the coun­try to the neg­a­tive fall­outs of the global warm­ing-in­duced cli­mate change,” he high­lighted.

The present PML(N)-led gov­ern­ment is abreast of the coun­try’s ex­ac­er­bat­ing vul­ner­a­bil­ity to the cli­mate change im­pacts and was tak­ing all­out mea­sures to boost cli­mate-re­silience of the coun­try.

The cli­mate change min­istry spokesper­son Saleem Shaikh ex­plained “Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif’s am­bi­tious Green Pak­istan Pro­gramme is a clear in­di­ca­tor of the present gov­ern­ment’s un­ques­tion­able se­ri­ous­ness to­wards pro­tect­ing so­cio-eco­nomic sec­tors, lives and liveli­hoods of the peo­ple from the cli­mate change im­pacts, which have shown rise in fre­quency and in­ten­sity.”

“The cli­mate change min­istry has boosted its ef­forts and in close con­tact with the pro­vin­cial, Gil­gitBaltistan, Azad Jammu & Kash­mir and FATA for­est de­part­ments to make the Green Pak­istan Pro­gramme (GPP)a suc­cess story in the re­gion, which has been well ap­plauded by the in­ter­na­tional, re­gional and na­tional for­est con­ser­va­tion­ists, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and cli­ma­toloigsts,” the spokesper­son Saleem Shaikh told me­dia.

He added that un­der the Rs. 10 bil­lion GPP, around 105 mil­lion trees would be planted across the coun­try in next five years, for which the Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif had al­ready ap­proved two bil­lion ru­pees for the two fi­nan­cial years (2016-16 and 20172018) The equal amount is to be contributed by the gov­ern­ments of the fed­er­at­ing and three ad­min­is­tra­tive units

The spokesper­son said fur­ther that the pro­gramme would be launched on Au­gust 14 this year, for which a grand launch­ing cer­e­mony would be held in Islamabad. High­light­ing sig­nif­i­cance of the forests in tack­ling cli­mate change, he said that be­ing ma­jor source of liveli­hoods for mil­lions the forests play dif­fer­ent ma­jor roles in this re­gard.

“They have the po­ten­tial to ab­sorb about one-tenth of global car­bon emis­sions pro­jected for the first half of this cen­tury into their biomass, soils and prod­ucts and store them - in prin­ci­ple in per­pe­tu­ity,” Saleem Shaikh elab­o­rated. He says that the im­por­tant ser­vices forests pro­vide are of­ten un­der-es­ti­matd or ig­nored. “They can act as safety-net for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, boost­ing their abil­ity deal with cli­mate risks, par­tic­u­larly floods and er­ratic and heavy rains. Man­grove forests, for in­stance, can hold back storm surges or cy­clonic flood­ing and moun­tain forests help sta­bi­lize soil and hence stop soil ero­sion as well as land­slides,” he ar­gued.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, two bil­lion peo­ple world­wide still rely on forests for their pri­mary source of fuel, he high­lighted and added that wood­land has a huge role to play in reg­u­lat­ing wa­ter sup­plies – de­creas­ing storm runoff and re­duc­ing the pol­lu­tants in rain­fall be­fore it reaches lo­cal wa­ter sources.

The forests are also one of the world’s largest car­bon sinks, ab­sorb­ing 2.4 bil­lion tonnes of car­bon diox­ide each year and stor­ing bil­lions more, the cli­mate change spokesper­son Saleem Shaikh said while quot­ing a re­port of the United Na­tions’ Food and Agri­cul­ture or­gan­i­sa­tion. Some sci­en­tists have warned in the re­port that de­for­esta­tion must be cut by 50% by 2020 for the best chance of meet­ing this tar­get.

Ahmed Iqbal Saeed, Gen­eral Man­ager Pearl Con­ti­nen­tal, Rawalpindi giv­ing away a re­turn ticket to Dubai to a win­ner dur­ing the Daily Lucky Draw Ac­tiv­ity at the Grand If­tar Din­ner at the Mar­quee, Pearl Con­ti­nen­tal.—DNA

Women Park near Li­aquat Bagh has be­come a dump­ing ground, be­cause all the city’s waste is be­ing dis­posed here.

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