ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday began planting 3.5 million saplings across the country as part of an ambitious day-long initiative, under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami program (TBTTP) launched two years ago, his Special Assistant on Climate Change said in a statement.
“One million volunteers from the Tiger Force (group in charge of COVID-19 relief efforts) will plant 3.5 million indigenous fruit and non-fruit tree saplings across the country in close support with the climate change ministry’s TBTTP team and provincial forest departments,” Malik Amin Aslam said on Saturday.
He added that all provinces, including Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad Capital Territory had been roped in for the initiative.
Sunday’s efforts are part of an ongoing five-year program, launched in 2018, which seeks to address issues of global warming and other environmental issues in the country which scientists have linked to climate change.
Aslam said the premier had assigned the highest priority to the TBTTP as part of his vision for a “clean and green Pakistan.”
“Prime Minister Imran Khan recognizes the powerful role of the country’s youth in all socioeconomic sectors, particularly the clean and green initiatives including the TBTTP, launched to achieve environmental sustainability, fight environmental degradation and climate change impacts,” he said.
For the purpose, 682 events have been organized across the country, which will also see the participation of local NGOs, educational institutions and communities.
“Tackling environmental sustainability challenges by nurturing a strong connection of children with nature will help strengthen youth’s connection...and encourage them to play their part in (the) protection and conservation of natural resources,” he said.
As an additional measure, Aslam added, a novel Protected Area Initiative was launched by PM Khan recently as part of the government’s eco-conservation efforts.
“It aims to increase the country’s protected areas cover from 13 percent to 15 percent by 2023 and create 5,000 green jobs across the country that are viewed as crucial in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.