Rain advantage: Pindi to plant 1.1m saplings in monsoon season

RAWALPINDI: Taking advantage of the ongoing monsoon showers in the region, the Rawalpindi Forests Department plans to plant over 1.1 million saplings in the north and south circles of the division.

Rawalpindi Division Commissioner Saif Anjum formally inaugurated the plantation campaign recently by planting a sapling at the Rawalpindi Gymkhana. Rawalpindi Deputy Commissioner Dr Umer Jahangir, former focal person to the prime minister on climate change Syed Rizwan Mehboob, Rawalpindi City Police Officer Abbas Ahsan and Rawalpindi Forest Conservator North Ather Shah Khagga also planted saplings during the ceremony.

Rawalpindi South Circle Forests Conservator Saqib Mahmood said that a comprehensive plan for planting trees across the province had been devised to bring the maximum area under forest cover — a basic requirement to overcome environmental degradation.

In this regard, he said that they will be trying their utmost to reach the 550,000 sapling-planting target for their circle before the monsoon season ends.

He said divisional forest officers and others concerned have been directed to plant maximum saplings during the campaign together with help from local residents, the civil society organisation, officials and students to meet the target.

The conservator added that staffers of the department have been activated to ensure proper forestation in their respective areas which will then be inspected by senior forest officers.

He added that they had planted over 1.056 million saplings under the prime minister’s Green Pakistan Programme (GPP) in Rawalpindi South, Jhelum and Chakwal districts during the spring tree plantation campaign earlier this year.

Saqib said that while an initial target of 260,000 saplings had been set for the circle under the programme, the department had managed to exceed the target. He added that all necessary arrangements had been made to plant the saplings.

The conservator explained that the programme was initiated on the special directives of the former prime minister with an aim to launch a nation-wide drive to improve and enhance forest cover of the country.

The project is also in line with relevant components on Environment and Climate Change of Vision 2025 and 11th Five Year Development Plan (2013-18) approved by the Planning Commission.

He said forests play an important role in supporting and maintaining ecological systems and cycles. Forests depend on and contribute to the many complex processes that are responsible for recycling carbon and water. They also regulate water flows and protect the soil, he added. Maximum saplings are being planted with the help and cooperation of the civil society, officials and students during the campaign.

He said that the staff members of the department had been instructed to ensure proper forestation in their respective areas which are inspected by the senior forest officers. He said that it is need of the hour to increase the forest area by accelerating the speed of plantation process adding that the government could not achieve the task alone and people belonging to all walks of life should come forward and play their role in this regard.

Earlier this year, during the spring tree plantation campaign, the Punjab Forests Department — Rawalpindi South Circle had planted 1.2 million saplings in Rawalpindi, Jhelum and Chakwal districts. This was seven per cent higher than its target of 1.12 million.

Saqib encouraged citizens to plant maximum saplings to enhance forests and trees which would help control the problems of environmental pollution due to the rapidly rising population.

“We are trying to create awareness of the importance of all types of forests. We encourage the citizens to undertake efforts to organise activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns,” he added.

Meanwhile, Khagga said that their circle would plant over 550,000 saplings during the monsoon tree plantation campaign 2018 in Rawalpindi.

To promote social forestry, he said that students will be involved in afforestation projects in the area, adding that special emphasis was being given on the plantation of shrubs and deep-rooted plants on the banks of Murree Expressway to prevent land erosion and landslides.

Thousands of saplings will be planted in Murree area under bioengineering work, a landslide control technology.

To a question, he said that their target of 1.1 million under the spring tree plantation 2018 had been achieved successfully.

He added said that the main objective of tree plantation campaign is to create awareness amongst the people to plant maximum trees so that problems of environmental pollution could be controlled.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2018.

The minister said that in developed countries special focus is laid upon on having new reservoirs of trees

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1769133/1-rain-advantage-pindi-plant-1-1m-saplings-monsoon-season/