Tuesday September 21, 2021

Experts support PDA urban afforestation plan

PESHAWAR: An expert panel has met the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) Director-General Ammara Khan about the urban afforestation plan in Peshawar.

The KP government has expressed the resolve to mitigate the effects of climate change with urban plantation of millions of shady trees during the monsoon season and the PDA has already initiated many green projects in Peshawar.

The experts argued that axing hundreds of historic trees along the Bus Rapid Transit route has contributed to the increased heatwave.

They said the concrete and steel infrastructures mega projects invariably contribute to the “heat island effect” in urban areas.

“We welcome the KP government plans to carry out urban afforestation, in which the public at large comprising communities, schools, colleges, and universities should participate in “Adopt a Tree” campaign thereby taking ownership and protecting these saplings till they mature,” said a member of the group. The expert team welcomed the decision by the government to convert the Gandhaw Khwar water channel that runs along the entire Hayatabad towards Board into a Miyyawaki forest which shall increase the urban forest cover in Peshawar and thereby mitigate the effects of climate change.

Earlier, the expert team hailed the PDA decision that the illegally allotted green area to commercial entities shall be restored with a massive afforestation plan.

The official informed the group that allotment shall be revoked in the next board of directors meeting since it was carried out without its approval by the previous administration.

The civil society experts shall share with PDA, afforestation work plans with sustainable natural landscaping, promoting habitat and biodiversity, natural irrigation alternatives through rainwater harvesting, gravity downstream canal irrigation, and recycling wastewater to conserve depleting precious water resources.

A “Gandhaw Khwar Trail” starting from Phase 6 & 7 and culminating across the board area could attract healthy activities like walking and cycling spaces for recreation starved citizens.

The residents of Hayatabad support the ongoing sustainable development by the PDA, therefore it was agreed that a “green board” shall be constituted comprising experts and senior citizens as they are a valuable “social capital” willing to contribute to the welfare of the city.

It is important to reclaim the civic spaces for healthy activities, and to revive the dilapidated “ladies club” in phase 5 for healthy activities for women.

A pilot project of “Hayatabad green city” can showcase public-public partnership for a Greener, Cleaner and Healthier future.