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Forests must for fighting devastating impacts of climate change: Minister

Islamabad, March 09, 2015 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Climate Change, Mushahid Ullah Khan said that trees of sign of the life on earth and they are inevitable for tackling escalating environmental degradation and different health diseases. “Trees and forests are, in fact, the factories of oxygen production and are vital for fighting carbon dioxide. This great role that the green vegetation plays an important role in enabling human being to live healthy life on earth,” the minister said.

The minister said that since the beginning, trees have furnished us with two of life’s essentials, food and oxygen. As we evolved, the trees, which are nature’s gift for the healthy human survival, have provided additional necessities such as shelter, medicine, and tools.

Today, their unprecedented importance continues to increase and more benefits of trees are being discovered as their role expands to satisfy the needs created by our modern lifestyles, he added. The minister said that Trees are a significant part of every society. Our streets, parks, playgrounds and backyards must be lined with trees, for these create a peaceful, aesthetically pleasing environment.

Trees increase our quality of life by bringing natural elements. We gather under the cool shade they provide during outdoor activities with family and friends. Many neighbourhoods are also the home of very old trees that serve as historic landmarks and a great source of town pride. Besides, using trees in cities to deflect the sunlight reduces the heat island effect caused by pavement and commercial buildings.

He expressed these views during his keynote address as chief guest at the ‘Tree Plantation Campaign Spring 2015’ held here I-9 Industrial area on Monday. The minister inaugurated the spring season’s first tree plantation drive by planting a seedling on a green belt between I-9 and I-10 sector in Industrial area.

Under the tree campaign, 15,000 trees would be planted in the city. The minister says, “Tree plantation campaigns takes place regularly to mark the commitment of government and to sensitize people about the significance of trees in our lives. But relevant departments fail to take care of the seedlings. Which is why, most of the seedlings do not survive and die in the few weeks of their plantation.”

However, he warned the civic agencies responsible for protection of the seedlings being planted as part of the spring tree plantation drive in the capital city that he would not spare anyone, if they failed to take care of the seedlings till they grow as a mature trees.

He took serious note of the rapidly shrinking tree cover in the country for several reasons including poverty, unemployment, rise in population, absence of alternative energy source. He said that over the years, Pakistan has witnessed tree cover shrinking fast. As a result, the country’s tree cover is more or less 2 percent of the total land mass of the country. Whereas it should be 25 percent, according the international standards.

He expressed his anguish over lethargic, corrupt attitude and ineptness of those government officers responsible conservation and protection of the country forest resources, many of those operate like hands in gloves with mafia behind illegal tree cutting.

Mushahid Ullah Khan warned them to shun such illegal activities and play their active role in controlling deforestation and increasing the area under forest or be prepared to face the music. The minister said that the PML (N)-led government is committed to pursue policies and plans that can increase the forest cover.

“Community forestry, carbon sequestration, access to benefit sharing and such other opportunities currently available offer huge potential for community and private sector involvement in forestry leading to increase in forest cover in Pakistan,” he highlighted.

The minister highlighted unprecedented contribution of trees in fighting detrimental impacts of climate change, such as: floods, land erosion, land stabilisation. Being highly vulnerable to the devastating impacts of climate change on socio-economic sectors, Pakistan can cope with these negative impacts effectively with the help of forests, he stressed.

He told the participants of the spring tree plantation event that his ministry of Climate Change has hammered out policies and plans for addressing the impacts of climate change with major focus on development of forest sector. These plans are being implemented in collaboration with the provincial governments.

“My Ministry stand firm on its commitment to achieve the goal of providing healthy environmental conditions to the inhabitants of Pakistan in order to provide a better future to our children. Given limited resources of the government, private sector has to join government’s efforts to promote forestry in urban and rural areas,” the minister urged.

For more information, contact:
Muhammad Saleem
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, ISLAMABAD
Ph: 051-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.mocc.gov.pk/

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