KARACHI: Representatives of World Wide Fund-Pakistan (WWF-P) and a healthcare company, PharmEvo, planted five trees in Patel Hospital, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, on Wednesday as part of a nationwide environment drive to plant 50,000 trees in the country.
“Trees are public goods and the authorities should follow the rules regarding their removal,” said the area manager of PharmEvo, Khwaja Muntajib, at the event. He was referring to the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act of 1997 and the Sindh Plantation, Maintenance of Trees and Public Parks Ordinance of 2002. The ordinance specifies that “no person shall remove, cut, damage, or displace any plant, shrub, tree or a branch at any public place, including parks.” Additionally, the lawyer of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Sultan Ahmed, promised the Sindh High Court on March 18, 2013, that no more trees will be cut in the city.
“Everyone is affected if even a single tree is cut down for the commercial benefit to a few people,” said Muntajib. He also demanded that the city administration provide justification of the circumstances necessitating cutting down trees before going about doing so in a “callous manner”.
The data collected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which according to their website, is the oldest global environmental organisation since 1948, states that only about 2.5 per cent of Karachi is green. WWF-P, which began the drive on April 16 in Karachi at AO Clinic in Nazimabad, aims to plant a total of 15,000 trees in the city before the 43rd International Earth Day which falls on April 22. The drive kicked off in Lahore on April 12.
A senior corporate relations officer at WWF-P, Asad Shahbaz Khan, explained that the plantation drive represents a step forward for the organisation, which previously used to run environmental campaigns on International Earth Day. “We cannot stop the government from chopping down trees but we can compensate for it to some extent by planting new ones,” he added.
A number of medical consultants at Patel Hospital, including Dr Nasir Ahmed and Dr Shazia Haroon, joined WWF-P and PharmEvo in planting trees in the hospitals’ park on Wednesday. WWF-P, which plans to plant 45 more trees at the hospital by April 22, also presented a poster titled, ‘Let’s pledge together to plant 50,000 trees in Pakistan’ as a keepsake to the hospital’s administrator, Captain (Retd) Maqsoodur Rehman Khan, on the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2013.