The Sindh Public Health Engineering and Rural Development (PHERD) Department is going to offer over 5,000 sites throughout the province for the plantation of trees. Top officials are optimistic that the project will help reduce climate change threats within a span of just a few years.
The department is ready to provide these sites to non-governmental organisations, civil society groups, environmental activists, neighbourhood organisations, and private companies who are willing to play their role in improving the environment. Besides land, the department will also provide them with water required for plantation and other facilities such as access to seeds, plants, and gardeners.
According to PHERD Secretary Roshan Shaikh, the department has already identified over 5,000 sites for this project. Talking to The Express Tribune, he said these sites are located all across the province, and most of them are in districts other than Karachi.
The sites are of different sizes, ranging from a few hundred yards to tens of acres. Depending on the size, these sites could accommodate a handful of trees, a few hundred plants or thousands of plants and trees.
“Provision of water will be guaranteed for these sites,” said Shaikh when asked about the availability of water.
The Public Health and Rural Department has vast experience in handling water-related projects in the province. The department has been operating water supply schemes, filtration and reverse osmosis plants and wastewater drainage and treatment plants in several areas of the province.
Shaikh said that the department was very serious about implementing the project because improving the environment is a top priority for the world.
According to him, they are going to finalise their preparations very soon. The department will soon invite NGOs, companies and other groups for joint ventures with the government through a formal advertisement.
He said the department has notified the formation of community and monitoring groups for all the designated sites.
These groups will comprise of three representatives of the area community, an engineer of the department, and one pump operator. Shaikh said these groups will be responsible for designing the plantation and its maintenance for three years.
The secretary said that the total cost of the project is Rs290 million, adding that the required funds are available and will be spent on the project over a three-year period.
He said that the department will also try to convert bigger plantation sites into picnic sites with having educational facilities relating to nature and the environment.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2019.