As Pakistan continues its massive drive to plant 10 billion trees to reduce smog, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday urged people to heed the dire warnings in a UN climate change report released on Monday.
The prime minister made the remarks as he inaugurated the largest urban Miyawaki forest project in the world at Saggian. Using a technique pioneered by the late Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, the forest covers 12.5 acres and has more than 165,000 plants.
Officials say the trees are expected to grow 10 times faster than normal due to the Miyawaki technique of planting them close together. The forest is one of 53 such sites in Lahore that are expected to work as carbon sinks. The city of 10 million has grappled with smog in recent years that has forced schools to close and earned it a ranking among the world's most polluted cities.
"Humans have done such a disservice to God's blessings, to this world, that many things - rising sea levels for instance because of warming and emissions - cannot come back to how they were before," the prime minister said. "All of us living in the world today, if we do all we can, maybe we can save the world from even worse harm to come."
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said on Monday that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Even the starkest measures to reduce emissions, it said, would not prevent a global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and the extreme weather and rising sea levels resulting from that change.
Read More: Miyawaki method used for faster forest cover
Since the tree planting drive started in 2018, the country has 1 billion more trees and is planting another 500 million during the monsoon season. "If you are concerned about your children and their future, the least you can do is plant one tree and take care of it," the prime minister said.
The prime minister highlighted the significance of forests in tackling global warming and environmental pollution and urged the people, especially the youth, to plant at least one tree for clean and green future of the country.
He dedicated the world biggest Miyawaki forest in Lahore to Japan’s Akira Miyawaki, the scientist who invented this forestation technique. Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist and expert in plant ecology, died last month.
Imran pointed out that till 2013, only 640 million trees were planted in the country but in the next five years (2013-18) the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa planted a billion trees in the province.
“Now, we have aimed to grow 10 billion trees and leave Pakistan in a better condition than what we inherited,” he said. “I hope that the development of Miyawaki forest will help revive the past glory of Lahore, which used to be a city of gardens, with trees planted all around.”
Imran said that the world was faced with the issue of global warming due to various reasons including deforestation. “Pakistan is doing, what it can do, to check the phenomenon through multiple measures,” he said, stressing the need for taking measures at the global level.
The prime minister lauded the efforts of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and his team for developing the Miyawaki forests in Lahore.
On the occasion, he was apprised that the forest had been developed over 100 kanals with over 160,000 plants. Under the Miyawaki technique plants grow 10 times faster than the growth in normal forests.
The prime minister was further apprised that another 53 Miyawaki forests were being grown at different parts of Lahore to create sinks for carbon as well as for better pollution abatement in the city. All have been geo-tagged for monitoring of their growth and development.
About 500 million trees were being planted across the country under the ongoing monsoon plantation drive which was the largest ever such drive in the country.
With additional input from Reuters
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