Prime Minister Imran Khan has inaugurated the nationwide spring tree plantation drive for revival and restoration of provinces in the country. Almost 250 million saplings are expected to be planted this year as part of the ambitious reafforestation program.
PM Imran Khan kicked off the campaign by planting a sapling in the old Kundian forest in his hometown Mianwali district. The prime minister had taken a keen interest in tree plantation calling it a sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He urged people to preserve forests to protect the future of the country, calling on the youth to make it a success. Pakistan is among the countries most affected by climate change and we need to protect it by planting trees across the country.
In 2014, the PTI launched the ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which was widely praised. It became the flagship project of the PTI government and was hailed by international organisations including the UNEP, IUCN, and WWF as a true conservation success story. The target to plant a billion trees was achieved in August 2017 making the party immensely popular in the province. The latest plantation campaign is an extension of that ambitious project.
According to the Climate Change Adviser, the ‘Ten Billion Tsunami Project’ will create 1.5 million jobs in the next four years. He said the government is prioritising afforestation activities as trees have been recognised as the most effective and cheapest way to tackle the effects of climate change on socio-political sectors such as agriculture, water, energy, and health. A large section of forests has been lost to logging, degradation and climate crisis which must be reclaimed.
The campaign was praised by UN chief Antonio Guterres during his recent visit to the country. He said that like all developing countries, Pakistan has contributed little to climate change but is facing a major impact. The Global Climate Risk Index ranked Pakistan as the fifth most affected country in the last two decades in its annual report this year. The most effective solution for Pakistan is to boost its forest cover to enhance the resilience against climate change.
The government should be appreciated for its efforts to accelerate action on climate change. PM Imran Khan is now recognised a global leader on environment for the project. However, Pakistan still has one of the lowest forest cover at less than five percent. More efforts are required particularly in the southern regions to restore the depleted forests and fight the effect of climate change.