KARACHI: Better environment, in terms of tree cover and landscaping, is unfortunately limited to few posh areas of the city including Clifton, PECHS, Defence Housing Authority (DHA) or Karachi Development Authority (KDA) housing society. However, other parts of Karachi are in poor condition, where 90% of the city’s population resides, said Javed Jabbar, a former senator and federal minister.
Jabbar was invited to speak at a seminar on tree plantation and environment organised on Saturday by The Tree Club, a youth group of the Horticulture Society of Pakistan (HSP) at HSP garden centre in DHA Phase II. The seminar was attended by a large number of people passionate about plants and the environment.
Continuing what he said earlier, Jabbar said that even posh areas are polluted with garbage and the tree cover has decreased. He said, while visiting DHA Phase VIII or the Boat Club near Keamari, one can smell the untreated waste flowing into the sea and how dangerous it is for the marine life and humans.
He appreciated the efforts of the young members of The Tree Club and advised them to continue working with full commitment. Even though there is a feeling of hopelessness in society and bad governance yet results can be achieved, said Jabbar.
He gave an example of how, 11 years ago, the government had decided to build new Murree project, however, with opposition from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and other environmentalist, the government had to stop the project otherwise the ecosystem of the area would have been disturbed.
“Trees are the oldest relatives of human beings, let’s save them so that they will be by our side forever,” said Jabbar.
The former senator said that the key to success is learning from the past and from other’s experiences. He said the model of South Kore, which has a huge forest cover, can be implemented in Pakistan. He added that there was a time when these countries used to follow Pakistan’s economic model hence there is no harm in learning from them.
Senior ecologist and environmentalist Rafiul Haq shed light on climate change and its effect on the city. He said that with young groups coming out for the environment, we can at least control the effects of climate change in Karachi.
Haq said that we all remember how deadly the heatwave was a few years ago, taking more than 1,000 lives and this is just because of the concrete jungle the city has become.
He advised young members to always consider planting native plants that are neem, bargad and gulmohar and always take environmentalists’ advice.
In her welcome note, Zehra Khan, chairperson of The Tree Club, expressed that we will be working on new projects of planting trees in remote areas of Karachi and everyone is invited to volunteer. She said that they would only focus on planting indigenous species of tree including amaltas, berna, neem, gulmohar, yellow and poinciana.
She added that The Tree club is meeting some legal experts to help HSP to regain 30 acres of land, illegally occupied by land mafias of the city. She said that it was for the establishment of a botanical garden on main Rashid Minhas Road, hoping that it would be given back to them.