Must improve climate to control poverty: PM

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday launched the landmark tree plantation drive in the history of the country saying Pakistan is the sixth most affected country by climate change in the world.

“It is the responsibility of everyone to make country green for our coming generations,” the prime minister said addressing the launching ceremony of the biggest tree plantation campaign which was marked by the Tiger Force Day here at Korang Park.

Imran Khan remarked that many of the areas in the country will turn into desert which will lead to poverty if they did not take measures to overcome the effects of climate change.

He said that unanimous decisions by the nation always yielded positive results and referred to the country’s success in containing the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to congratulate the Tiger Force, civil society and members of parliament for planting record 3.5 million trees in a day across the country”, he said.

The prime minister said the climate change was also affecting the country as they had witnessed a reduction of 1.5 million tonnes in wheat production in the current year because the rainfall adversely affected the crop.

The prime minister planted a sapling to formally launch country’s biggest tree plantation campaign targeting around 3.5 million trees across the country on Tiger Force day being observed on August 9.

Glaciers melting will increase if drastic steps are not taken to protect environment

The prime minister further said the changes were occurring because of the climatic changes, he said, urging the nation to realize its true potential and come forward to share their responsibility in arresting deforestation of the country. The prime minister called for saving the forests and pledged that the incumbent government is working to plant trees even in the cities.

He said that a new environment-friendly city equipped with latest facilities will be established near Lahore.

About 80 per cent of the glaciers in the country were facing the risk of melting which could increase desertification in the catchment areas if drastic steps were not taken, he warned.

“It is our collective duty to make the country green by planting trees,” he stressed.

The prime minister also underlined the need to control pollution in the Rawal Lake which provided water to adjacent Rawalpindi city.

Commenting on Pakistan’s successful strategy to stop the spread of Covid-19, Imran Khan said it is a blessing of God that our country is among those who have effectively fought this pandemic.

The Prime Minister also urged the public to follow the Covid-19 related SOPs as the pandemic is not over yet.

He also asked the Shia community to follow the SOPs during Muharram-ul-Haram to avoid spread of the pandemic.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said Pakistan needs to fight against climate change as it has done against coronavirus.

Highlighting the intensity of the issue, he said, according to a report published by the World Bank, if Pakistan does not take action against climate change, then six districts of the country will be under threat to become inhabitable till 2050.

He said these districts include; Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpur Khas, Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan.

As per plan, around 2 million saplings would be planted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1.19 million in Punjab, 300,000 in Sindh, 57,000 in AJK, 15,000 in Balochistan and 11,500 in Gilgit Baltistan.

The World Bank had also expressed its interest to provide $188 million to fund the upcoming Ecosystem Restoration Initiative aims at implementing the ‘Ten Billion Tree Tsunami’ and ‘Recharge Pakistan’ programmes.

The $188 million fund will be placed under the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF), as it already has a framework and mechanism in place for quick and efficient disbursement of the money.

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