ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said protection of the country’s environment is top priority of the government.
He was addressing the 7th Asian Regional Conservative Forum of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Islamabad on Wednesday. He said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) made protecting the environment a spiritual duty.
The prime minister said Pakistan is a diverse country and has twelve ecological zones from desert to Himalayan forests which are rare in the world. However, he said the population growth and the lack of interest for protection of environment in the past devastated our wildlife and forests.
“I think people in Pakistan don’t understand the beauty and diversity of this country as most of them live in cities and don’t go out of cities. And I mean influential people, opinion and decision makers,” he said.
PM Imran Khan said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the first government which took the first major step to deal with the climate change by launching the billion tree Tsunami project.
He said that the main reason for success of this initiative was that local people including women were involved as they become stakeholders when they see the benefits of protecting the environment.
PM Khan announced the incumbent federal government has now embarked upon an ambitious plan of planting ten billion trees.
He said this year the government will launch a massive tree plantation drives across the country as the necessary planning and infrastructure including nurseries have been developed in the first year.
He further said the youth will drive this massive campaign said the environment protection will also be made part of syllabus.
The prime minister said the government has also started another campaign under which vertical buildings will be constructed in the cities.
He said the town planners need to be more conscious of environment protection. He regretted that seventy percent of trees in Lahore were cut off in ten years which has made it one of the most polluted cities. The prime minster also regretted the United States’ decision to pull out of the Paris accord.
Speaking on the occasion, the IUCN President hailed the government for launching the tree plantation project. He said he was impressed with the forestation that took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the last five years. He appreciated the mission and passion of the prime minister to address the issue of climate change.