KARACHI: After attempts to rid the city of conocarpus trees, the Sindh government is now planting date palms. According to environmentalists, this is a repetition of the same mistake as the government is not consulting environmental experts to understand the type of trees that are suitable for the city.
Just a week ago, the Sindh Local Government Directorate transplanted around 100 date palms on the median of the recently renovated University Road. They intend to plant a total 250 date palms on the thoroughfare. Date palms are being planted from Hassan Square till Nipa on the part of University Road that has recently been renovated.
Environmental experts and others concerned about the environment have criticised the government’s move on different social media groups. They are of the view that instead of repeating the same mistake, the government should consult environmental experts to understand the type of trees the city requires.
This has been done to make the newly built University Road more beautiful, said Sindh Local Government Directorate Director Niaz Soomro. He was of the view that they have decided to get rid of the conocarpus trees and have chosen date palms for University Road. Soomro added that so far, a hundred trees have been planted whereas they will plant 150 more trees on the same thoroughfare. He said it has been decided that they are going to plant Gulmohar trees in between the 25-foot gap between the date palms.
When asked if the plan to plant date palms will be successful, Soomro said that since these trees are local and belong to Sukkur and Khairpur, unlike the date palms in the past, they will survive the weather of the city.
The Sindh government also plans to construct a Red Line Bus Rapid Transport system on the University Road. However, the provincial government has no clue as to what are they going to do with these date palms then.
On the other hand, horticulturist Tofiq Pasha Mooraj criticised the move of the government and said the authorities working in the city have been playing with the environment of the city. He added that the consequences of non-serious attitude from the government towards the environment of the city are clearly visible in the form of rising temperature.
“How long are you going to repeat the same mistake?” he asked. “We have planted date palms in the past but it was never successful.” He explained that these date palms either belong to Sukkur or Khairpur where there the climate is not humid. Meanwhile, he said, in Karachi, even today there is 65% humidity in the environment, which is why there is no chance of the survival of these trees.
He said that if these trees had been transplanted from the Makran region, then there was a chance for survival since the climate of Makran and Karachi is similar. He added that the city needs Neem and Gulmohar trees, which provide shade and help keep the temperature low as well. “Everybody wants to park their vehicle under the shade of a tree,” he said. “However no one wants to plant a tree.”
Environmentalist Moazzam Ali Khan also said the government should prefer the indigenous plants of the city, which include Neem, Gulmohar, Bargad, Amaltas and Peepal.