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ISLAMABAD: The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam Saturday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would inaugurate largest one-day tree plantation of 3.5 million saplings across the country on August 9th.

On the initiative of the prime minister, one million Corona Relief Tiger Force (CRTF) youth volunteers would plant over three million saplings, which is the highest-ever number of trees to be planted in the country, said the SAPM, while addressing a media briefing.

He said that Pakistan was in dire need of plantation to increase its forest cover due to its rising vulnerability to global warming and heat waves.

"The one-day plantation will be carried out under the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project (10BTT) where around 1,200 plantation activities are going to be held under this campaign on August 9," Aslam added. He said that a target of 300,000 trees for plantation was set for Sindh, 1.2 million trees in the Punjab and two million trees in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, whereas the rest of the federating units had submitted their plantation targets. In the federal capital, around 1.2 million saplings would be planted under the initiative.

The SAPM noted that the first billion trees' target under the 10BTT was going to be achieved by June 2021 as the stocks of saplings were augmented from 50 million to 300 million.

These saplings would be sufficient to meet the massive afforestation initiative.

He urged the masses including youth, academia, lawyers, journalists and citizens to join the 10BTT one-day plantation to plant maximum saplings. Aslam said that a recent World Bank study suggested that among the most heat wave-affected hotspots, around half a dozen were lying in Pakistan, and if left unattended, they would become unlivable places by 2050.

Three districts of Sindh including Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad and Punjab's districts including Faisalabad, Multan and Lahore, would be the most affected due to the heat waves.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said, was a visionary leader and therefore, realising the risk of global warming in the region, decided to launch the 10BTT.

It was due to his vision that Pakistan managed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-13) Climate Action 10 years ahead of its 2030 deadline.

He highlighted that 5-10 percent plant nurseries under the 10BTT were raised by women in the rural areas, where the provincial governments were directed to boost their share in this project.

It would further strengthen the impoverished women to earn a respectable livelihood by raising plant nurseries.

He added that the country's first Electric Vehicle Policy was approved where initially two wheeler and three-wheeler rickshaws and motorbikes would be launched in the market.

The SAPM was going to inaugurate the e-rickshaws and motorbikes in Lahore during the coming week.

He added that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was fulfilling its promises made to the masses where the prime minister was going to launch the results of "Clean and Green Pakistan Index" under which 20 cities were judged on 35 quantifiable indicators of cleanliness, solid and liquid waste management.

The Ministry of Climate Change was monitoring the indicators for the past nine months, he added.

He said fuel quality was enhanced from Euro-II to Euro-V standards, where quality fuel would be available to masses within next couple of weeks.

Around 30 national parks were established in the country since independence where around 25 percent increase was made by nine new national parks to the existing number. However, a National Park Service was also being established, which would generate job opportunities for youth.

Moody's (the global economic and investment rating institute), he said, had also improved the economic outlook of Pakistan from negative to stable, which was a great achievement despite the impediments of global economic crisis and the Covid-19 situation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020