ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to allocate 1% of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) in the upcoming 2019-20 budget for the initiatives planned to be taken under the Green Clean Pakistan Movement to make the country environment-friendly.
Prime Minister Imran Khan took the decision in a high-level meeting held to earmark funds for initiatives under the clean and green programme.
According to officials, Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries facing excessive threat from climate change like drought and floods. In the country, 60% of the waste remains uncollected, 93% of wastewater is not treated and 42% of population does not have access to basic sanitation.
The prime minister had launched the Green Clean Pakistan Movement in September 2018. Five pillars of the programme were identified as tree plantation, solid waste management, liquid waste management, total sanitation/hygiene and safe drinking water.
The Ministry of Climate Change has planned to take scores of initiatives throughout the country in coming months. All federal ministers are being asked to join these events in their respective constituencies.
The ministry will develop a comprehensive clean and green scorecard on a priority basis, which will show the performance of various cities across the country. The best performers will be recognised at the national level for their achievements.
Religious leaders will also be engaged to deliver the message of clean and green Pakistan through mosques. Under the programme, standing committees of the Senate and National Assembly have already banned the use of plastic bags and bottles in their meetings. There are also plans to make parliament plastic-free. The Ministry of Climate Change has also banned the use of plastic bags and bottles in its offices.
The government has framed a communications strategy to increase awareness, build consciousness and sensitivity among the public.
Different communities will be mobilised in order to take individual and collective action. Partnerships will be established with sector partners, private organisations and media to maximise the impact. Showcase events and celebrations will also be held to advocate social and behavioural change.
The government has decided to lead from the front and set an example for the others to follow. The Ministry of Climate Change will closely coordinate with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in implementing the communications strategy, which includes public service messages on PTV, Radio Pakistan and private media channels.
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) will facilitate in this regard by giving access to 10% free air time under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) component. Apart from this, SMS to mobile users will be ensured through the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
Further initiatives include messages in the curriculum and establishing clean and green teams in schools, colleges and universities through the Ministry of Education.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2019.