RAWALPINDI: Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that the government had set a plantation target of one billion trees for 2022.
Talking to media after inaugurating the urban Miyawaki Forest and street library set up by Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA), he said over 600 million saplings would be planted in all provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan under the first target set for the spring plantation and would start from January 15.
He said that the Miyawaki Forest and street library were a gift for the residents of Rawalpindi city. He said the plants in this forest had grown up to 8 to 9 feet during 7 to 8 months, adding nearly 8500 plants of over 50 species were grown in this forest.
Amin Aslam appreciated RDA for establishing urban Miyawaki Forest in a congested area in accordance with Ten Billion Tree Tsunami vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “We have established nearly 100 urban Miyawaki Forests in Lahore and more than 100 Miyawaki Forests were also set up in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.
“The plantation under ten billion tree tsunami project was being carried out over 9500 sites. We are going to put all the sites on the website. Today, its final approval has been given and anyone will be able to check the sites and the plantation activities. The step is being taken to ensure complete transparency for the project,” Amin Aslam added.
He said that more urban Miyawaki Forest projects would be set up in Rawalpindi city to provide the citizens clean and green environment.
To a question about the cutting of trees from forests of Kotli Sattian, he said that an operation was launched earlier and strict action was taken against those involved in illegal activity. He informed that a comprehensive strategy was being evolved to protect the forests.
He said local residents of the forest areas would be hired to ensure the protection of the forests. They would be made forest guards to prevent fire incidents in the forest areas. Such project was implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which remained successful, he added. A plan had been formulated and the project would be implemented soon as the prime minister announced a fund for the project, he said.
To another question about Murree incident, he said that a high-powered inquiry committee had been formed to prepare a report within few days, adding taht Pakistan was among the top 10 countries affected most by climate change.
The alerts issued by the Met office should be taken seriously and immediate planning should also be done, he added. The Standard Operating Procedures should also be followed in letter and spirit. Every tourist spot had its carrying capacity, he said.
“We will have to set carrying capacity of our tourist spots, ” he added. “Murree, Nathiagali were hot tourist spots of the country and overcrowding should not be allowed in such areas.” He expressed the hope that no such incident would occur in future as the tragic Murree incident would also be used as course correction.
Earlier, Chairman RDA Tariq Mehmood Murtaza said that 8500 plants of over 50 species were grown in the urban Miyawaki Forests established by Rawalpindi Development Authority at Rialto Chowk.
He informed that no government funds were utilized and, the forest was set up with the funding raised by the donors. He said that the street library set up at Rialto Chowk was an effort to bring the citizens back to the habit of reading books.