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Zahid Hamid approves 109 million tree plantation target for ongoing monsoon season

Islamabad, June 29, 2016 (PPI-OT):A target of 109 million tree plantation throughout the country has been set for the ongoing four-month monsoon season, which has kicked off from mid of the June. According to details, the target of 109 million trees includes as many as 14.2 million trees that would be planted under the Prime Minister’s five-year Green Pakistan Programme during the monsoon season, which will be launched in August this year, Mohammad Saleem, Climate Change Ministry Deputy (Director Media and Communication) told media.

While chairing a high-level inter-ministerial and inter-provincial meeting here on Wednesday, Minister for Climate Change, Zahid Hamid, finally approved the target after provincial forest departments and other federal ministries, departments including the National Highway Authority, Pakistan Ordinance Factory, and Heavy Industry Taxila shared their tree plantation targets for the monsoon season, the deputy director said further.

Giving break-up of the spring tree plantation target, the Inspector General of Forest Pakistan (IGF-Pakistan) at the climate change ministry, Mr. Syed Mahmood Nasir, told the meeting that as per targets set by the provincial and federal governments as well as departments, 13 million tree would be planted during the ongoing monsoon season by Punjab forest department throughout the province.

During the season, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will plant 75 million trees, Sindh 12 million trees, Baluchistan 0.7 million trees, Azad Jammu and Kashmir three million trees, FATA 4.1 million trees, Ministry of Defence one million trees, Heavy Industry Taxila 1,000 trees, Pakistan Ordinance Factory 7,000 trees and IUCN 200,000 trees.

Chaired by the minister Zahid Hamid, the meeting also reviewed the year’s spring season tree plantation targets by the provincial forest departments and other provincial and federal departments. The IGF Pakistan Syed Mahmood Nasir apprised the meeting that during the similar meeting held on January 29, 2016, a nation-wide target of 153 million trees plantation for this year’s spring season was set. Of which, around 208 million trees have been planted across the country and survival of the trees planted during the season more than 70 percent.

The Climate change Minister Zahid Hamid urged the representatives of provincial forest and wildlife department to join federal government’s efforts to make the prime minister’s programme for forest regeneration successful. “The Green Pakistan Programme has been launched as a national cause and as a part of the present government’s efforts to protect the country and its people from devastating impacts of climate change-induced disasters, particularly floods, which have shown rise in intensity and frequency over recent years,” he told the meeting participants.

He said further that forests are the best enemy of climate change and effective way to boost the country’s climate change resilience against negative fallouts of the climate change. Climate Change Secretary, Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, apprised the meeting that a letter has been sent to the provincial governments to roll out project plans for implementing the Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme at the earliest possible.

“Through the letter, the ministry has conveyed to the provincial governments the significance of the Green Pakistan Programme for sustainable socio-economic development the country and coping with climate change-induced disasters, particularly floods, heat waves, landslides, land and river erosions, cyclones, dust storms, desertification,” Syed Abu Akif highlighted at the meeting.

However, he urged the provincial forest officials to push their respective provincial authorities to speed up the work on hammering out the project plans so that funds approved by the prime minister for the Green Programme are released in a timely manner and forest cover increased.

The Secretary Syed Akif said that the country could not be able to cope with climate risks, particularly floods and torrential rains, which have become increasingly frequent due to global warming, without increasing tree cover. “Forests hold back floodwater by nearly 72 hours and; hence, reduce intensity of the deluge water, lower chances of deaths and damages to roads, building infrastructures, bridges as well as standing crops from being washed away or wiped out,” he argued.

However, the secretary asked the provincial forest departments and ministries to take necessary arrangements in a timely manner to achieve the monsoon season tree plantation target and nurture them as our own children. Climate Change Ministry Inspector General Forest, Syed Mahmood Nasir, said that all-out efforts should be taken to take full benefit of the four-month long wet monsoon season by planting tree on a large-scale. Because, wet spring season is expected to provide trillions of litter water for the seedling to grow fast and hold their grip on soil strongly.

Syed Mahmood Nasir underlined the need for conserving nutrient-rich soil through regeneration of natural forests across the country. Because, trees play a vital role in this regard. “Being a proven method to maintain the fertility of the soil by protecting the soil from erosion and nutrient loss, the soil conservation is important because soil is crucial for many aspects of the human life and non-living beings. For, it does provide food, filters air and water and helps to decompose biological waste into nutrients for new plant life,” he told the meeting.

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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