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Friday December 03, 2021

Draft prepared for Billion Tree Project

July 18, 2020

Rawalpindi : The air quality in larger cities of the Punjab including Rawalpindi is becoming ‘critical’ because the vehicular and industrial emissions there have exceeded the prescribed limits.

According to an official draft prepared as part of the Billion Tree Tsunami Project, the Punjab has already experienced extreme events in the last two decades in the form of flood, drought, unprecedented monsoon rainfalls and exceptionally high temperature.

“Some of these events have been destructive causing heavy loss of life and property. The occurrences of extreme events are narrowing the doubts that man-made warming is disrupting the climate change, which is manifesting itself in the form of extreme events,” it said.

According to the estimates, by the year 2047, 70% of the province’s population will be located in urban areas. The area of the top 50 cities almost tripled from 891 km2 to 2,589 km2, constituting around 1.26% of total land area in the Punjab province.

The draft said focus of the Billion Tree Tsunami Project is to recognise the importance of the urban forest for the health and well-being of ecological and economic security of the province.

It would also help maximize the capacity of Punjab’s urban forest to provide ecological, economic, social and aesthetic benefits to both present and future generations.

All urban forestry-related laws and provisions shall be reviewed for updating. Where appropriate, they shall be integrated through a smaller number of more comprehensive and updated Acts in order to eliminate overlaps.

The project would greatly help promote increased long-term public and private interventions in the urban forest to provide benefits to air quality management, microclimate regulation, soil and water management, carbon storage, biodiversity conservation, recreation, culture and aesthetics, traffic management, sustainable development and economic products.

The proposed target for ‘Tree Canopy’ in their respective areas includes Streets (5 percent); Urban Area (10 percent); and Peri-Urban (15 percent).