Pakistan cares – World Environment Day
By Amal Hanif
The World Environment Day is witnessed on June 5th every year. It is United Nations’ flagship day to encourage global awareness and measures for the protection and preservation of the environment.
Throughout the globe, from polluted freshwater bodies to deforested mountains, it aims to avert, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems. According to the UN, by timely and appropriate action, we can intercept the loss of approximately a million endangered creatures. Furthermore, in order to battle climate change and ensure our wellbeing and health, it’s high time we collectively combat this global threat.
For the first time in history, Pakistan hosted the 47th World Environment Day and commemorated the official launch of the UN’s ‘Decade of Ecosystem Restoration’ (2021-2030).
There is a pressing need to take action. According to Bloomberg, Pakistan is facing risks of floods, vanishing glaciers, and increasing droughts. It is among the six countries that face a major impact from climate change. The Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has been tirelessly stressing the importance of increasing forest cover for a long time. While he was the governing Khyber Pakhtunkhua, the province’s forest cover increased from 20% to 27% in 5 years.gr
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government is now taking promising steps intended to revive wildlife and forest resources in Pakistan. Concurrently, Pakistan seeks to promote tourism, create livelihoods, and to establish a green economy by launching one of the world’s largest reforestation programmes.
Pakistan’s noteworthy initiatives:
- The Ten Billion Tsunami Tree Programme is an enterprising four-year project lead by the ministry of climate change with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme. Recently, the mission had a major breakthrough as the billionth tree was planted. Not only will this expand the country’s natural capital, but it will simultaneously create jobs for thousands of people. Approximately, 84,610 daily wagers have been offered ‘green’ jobs. The project focuses on planting Neem trees as they tend to grow fast and require less water. Additionally, olive trees have also been planted, as one tree can produce nearly 150kg of olives.
- Under the Protected Areas Initiative, the government wants to extend the protected land areas from 13% to 15% by the year 2023. It targets to have seven leading national parks registered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Through effective administration and crowd-funding, the parks will be converted into totally operative ‘protected areas’ and serve as ecological laboratories. Also, a further 9 national parks have been added to the existing 30 ones.
- Pakistan’s first marine protected area at Astola Island in Baluchistan is home to various fish, bird and coral species. At such islands and along the Sindh coastline, the mangrove cover is being increased. Mangroves protect coastal communities from natural disasters and help improve the water quality. Plus, they capture five times more carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere than forests on land do.
The governments, organizations and the local communities – all have a vital role to play. In order to secure our future and aid the planet to heal, we need to act responsibly and create awareness. We can start with the following steps:
- Participate in tree plantation drives
- Educate yourselves and people in your surroundings
- Reduce your carbon footprint and
- Donate to organizations working for the betterment of the ecosystems.
Allah (swt) has entrusted us with this planet. “And it is He (God) who has made you successors (khalifa) upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Al Anam 6:165)