LAHORE: Environmental degradation will affect young people disproportionately more than other demographic groups. They should be educated about threats to the ecology and be encouraged to participate in activities aimed at deliberating responses to ecological challenges, United Nations Volunteers Pakistan programme officer Aktarud Din said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at a tree plantation drive held at Shahdara Reserve Forest. The drive was organised jointly by FACES Pakistan and the UNV Pakistan to mark the International Youth Day of 2015. Besides students from various educational institutions, the gathering included teachers from public schools and madrassas, development and corporate sector personnel, government officials and personnel associated with non-government organisations.
Peace and Harmony Network Pakistan (PHNP) chairman Pir Allama Muhammad Zubair Abid, Justice Jamshed Rehmatullah, Worldwide Fund for Nature Pakistan (WWF Pakistan) Corporate Partnership and Fundraising manager Sharjeel Farooq Malik and Telenor Pakistan’s Natiqa Nadeem.
The participants planted 200 saplings at the reserve and vowed to continue similar efforts in future to promote awareness about sustainable use of natural resources.
Speaking at the occasion, FACES Pakistan president Javaid William said his organisation was committed to promotion of volunteerism among the youth. He said the energies of the youth could be channelised in the right direction if they were educated about the urgent task of preventing further degradation of the environment through sustainable use of resources.
“Volunteerism is the key to foster social development. Young people should be provided with forums where they can get together and work for preservation of the environment,” FACES Pakistan general secretary Elaine Alam said.
Alam said that with 600 acres of land dedicated to plantation near the Mehmood Booti landfill site, the Shahdara Reserve Forest was a remarkable initiative.
She said the country had yet to institutionalise the culture of volunteerism. She said her organisation was contributing its part to make up for this shortcoming. She said the plantation drive had been organised as part of the organistaion’s efforts to raise awareness about the need to protect the environment through volunteerism and to encourage youth involvement in such tasks.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2015.