KARACHI: Launching the 2020 Mangroves Plantation Campaign, Pakistan Navy's Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi said that the drive contributes to the national cause of developing a 'green coastal belt,' in line with the federal government's aim of a 'clean and green Pakistan.'
In a message on Monday, Abbasi stated that the Pakistan Navy has been carrying out such campaigns for the last four years, during which over six million mangroves have been planted across the Sindh and Balochistan coastal belts.
"The world is facing severe environmental challenges due to high rates of deforestation, and this has been no different for Pakistan's mangrove," he stated, adding, "Our [Pakistan's] marine environment is threatened by coastal erosion and degradation of the marine ecosystem."
Abbasi explained that these depleting mangroves not only affected coastal biodiversity but also the livelihood of Pakistan's coastal communities. In his view, it is therefore imperative to forestall deforestation through well-conceived policies and integrated institutional measure for economic sustenance and growth.
The admiral also maintained that it is a known fact that mangroves are effective in dealing with the adverse effects of coastal hazards that may arise due to climate change.
Abbasi added that the Navy understood the significant value of coastal mangroves and the importance of preserving the marine environment, and so, it carried out initiatives to revive the mangrove forests yearly.
These initiatives, aside from mass plantation, also served to raise awareness regarding the importance of mangroves, their protection and to curb deforestation through institutionalised measures, claimed Abbasi.
"I would like to urge government departments, the industrial community and individuals to join hands in this undertaking for the benefit of our marine ecology and our coastal communities. Let us strive together to make this mangroves plantation campaign a success and preserve nature for our future generations," he concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2020.