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PM Imran inaugurates urban forestry project, urges to tackle environmental pollution

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the government’s major plans to tackle the growing threat of smog and pollution in all megacities of the country especially in Lahore.

The Prime Minister while inaugurating the Miyawaki Urban Forest Project at Jilani Park during his visit to Lahore today directed Punjab’s government to take measures for curbing environmental pollution in the city.

He expressed strong objection to the increase in pollution and directed to take strict action against the factories involved in polluting the environment.

He termed smog as a silent killer, adding that that global research on smog has found it to be very dangerous for human life. PM Imran said tree planting is essential for eliminating environmental pollution, an issue completely ignored in the past.

PM Imran cited the example of Lahore, the city of gardens, where pollution has risen sharply in the recent past. He said that 70 percent of Lahore’s green belts were removed over time, leading to a huge increase in air pollution which is very harmful to adults and children.

The selection of 50 sites for Urban Forest in Lahore and Miyawaki Urban Forest was a great initiative reflecting the aspirations of its citizens, the PM said.

The Prime Minister also announced that Pakistan will be planting olive groves, enabling it to start exporting olives instead of importing them in a matter of years.

He said that unfortunately, governments plan for only five years, however; the future of the country can only be safeguarded through long-term planning.

The Prime Minister was briefed about the progress made so far to achieve the target of fifty-one Urban Forest sites in the provincial capital to check air pollution and protect the environment. 

Barren areas have been transformed into lush, green areas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where the government undertook the Billion Tree Tsunami initiative he maintained. “Lahore’s water and environment used to be very clean around three decades back but now it is highly toxic to breathe in Lahore’s air, ” he added.

The Prime Minister further added, “The pollution level has increased significantly leading to many respiratory diseases especially among children and elderly people.”

Addressing the ceremony, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that the plantation of forests at the sites would be completed by March. He also noted that there was no other option to fight off smog and climate change than urban forestry wherever land was available.