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August 10, 2020

Desertification to rise if more trees not planted: PM

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APP
August 10, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday urged the nation to fully participate in the tree plantation drive to reverse environmental degradation in the country posing a serious threat to crops, terrain, and livelihood.

Addressing a big gathering of the Tiger Force volunteers and people from different walks of life at the Korang Park, he said unanimous decisions by nations always yielded positive results and in this regard he referred to the country’s success in containing the coronavirus pandemic.

Imran said climate change was also affecting the country, as they had witnessed a reduction of 1.5 million tonnes in wheat production this year because the rainfall had adversely affected the crop. The prime minister planted a sapling to formally launch the country’s biggest tree plantation campaign targeting around 3.5 million trees across the country on the Tiger Force Day observed on Sunday.

The prime minister further said changes were occurring because of climatic change and urged the nation to realize its true potentialand come forward to share responsibility for arresting deforestation. “About 80 per cent of the glaciers in the country are facing the risk of melting, which might increase desertification in the catchment areas if drastic steps are not taken,” he warned.

“It is our collective duty to make the country green by planting trees,” he stressed and underlined the need to control pollution in the Rawal Lake which provided water to the Rawalpindi city.

Expressing satisfaction over the government’s policy of smart lockdown and the public response against coronavirus pandemic, he asked the people to strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs), as coronavirus threat was not over.

He stressed upon maintaining social distance and wearing of masks in public places. He said the world acknowledged the government’s steps to control coronavirus and also lauded the efforts of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), Tiger Force and his health team for making hectic efforts in this regard.

The prime minister asked the nation to follow these SOPs during the Muharram ul Haram. Earlier, Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said about 3.5 million saplings were planted across the country on Sunday.

He said Pakistan was the 5th most vulnerable country in the world facing the negative effects of climate change. Referring to a World Bank’s report on climate change, he called for immediate action to arrest the environmental degradation because the report had identified six districts of Pakistan as hotspots, which would become inhabitable in future due to rising temperatures. These districts include Hyderabad, Sukkur, and Mirpur Khas in Sindh province and Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan in Punjab province.