PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif planted a sapling at the PM Office on Thursday morning to kick-start the National Green Day.
The government aims to plant around 257 million trees across the country under the Green Pakistan initiative.
Accompanied by a group of 20 special children, Nawaz said that his government was committed to making the country green through an extended plantation drive.
Terming the campaign vital to protecting the environment and countering the negative impact of the climate change, Nawaz said that extensive cutting of trees has led to deforestation in the country. Effective measures were required to reverse these changes.
The premier said that the federal government would provide Rs3.5 billion, while a matching grant would be provided by all the four provinces and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan. Around Rs500 million would be spent to plant trees in the capital alone.
Mayor plants trees
Separately, Islamabad Mayor and Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Sheikh Anser Aziz formally inaugurated the spring tree plantation drive by planting a sapling at the Rose and Jasmine Garden on Thursday.
Furthermore, an awareness walk was held to highlight the importance of a greener environment.
While planting the sapling, Aziz said that they would plant over 300,000 saplings of different species throughout the city during spring.
“Being the signatory of the Islamabad Green Charter it is our collective responsibility to the environment to take steps to improve it,” the CDA chairman said.
422 schools to be made ‘Green Schools’
To help achieve the dream of a greener Pakistan, 422 public sector schools in the capital would be turned into ‘Green Schools’ through an organised tree plantation.
This was announced by Islamabad’s Deputy Mayor Zeeshan Ali Naqvi while launching tree plantation drive in Islamabad. The drive was held by Pakistan Youth Climate Network (PYCN) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with federal Ministry of Climate Change. A large number of students and people from different walks of life, attended the ceremony.
Trees planted in NUML, NUST
While observing National Green Day the administrators, faculty and students at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) planted saplings.
At NUML, Rector Major General (retired) Ziauddin Najam inaugurated the Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme by planting a sapling in front of the Ibn-i-Khuldun Block.
While planting a tree, Maj-Gen (retd) Najam hailed the initiative, adding that would have a positive impact on country’s overall atmosphere. He added that celebrating a green day at the national level would defiantly change the country’s fate.
At NUST, Rector Lt Gen (retd) Naweed Zaman planted a guava tree. He said that horticultural activities are imperative for conserving the green environment. He directed the horticulture staff to plant over extensive saplings during the campaign.
Earlier, NUST students and staff held a ‘Green Day walk’ around the campus.
AJK to plant 3.02m trees
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider inaugurated the tree-plantation campaign in Muzaffarabad on Thursday by planting a sapling. The inaugural ceremony was hosted by AJK Forest Department which has set a target of planting 3.02 million saplings across the valley during the campaign.
K-P plants trees
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday planted a sapling in Peshawar to inaugurate the Green Pakistan drive in the province.
Under the programme, K-P government would provide half of the total Rs400 million plantation projects in the province.
Khatak, though, lashed out at federal government, stating that Islamabad had first criticising K-P for its ‘billion tree tsunami projects’, but that it had now started a mass tree-plantation drive. He added that they had already planted some 600 million trees since their tsunami started three years.
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2017.