Pakistan’s position on the world ranking of countries having most mangrove trees in their coastal zones will further improve in the coming months owing to the aggressive plantation campaign by the Sindh government’s Forest Department.
“Pakistan at present stands at the seventh position on the world ranking of mangrove forests as in the next two to three months our standing will further improve to the fourth or fifth position,” said Sindh Local Government Minister, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, who in the recent past also held the portfolio of the Sindh Forest Department.
The Local Government Minister was speaking as the chief guest at the 18th Annual Environment Conference and Excellence Awards-2018 organised by the National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH).
He said the Sindh Forest Department’s aggressive campaign to grow mangrove forests on the coastline of the province was like a revolution as earlier it had even clinched the world record by planting most number of mangrove plants in a single day.
He said that urban forestry campaign was also being conducted in Karachi in the areas of Lyari Expressway, Clifton and Shah Faisal Colony.
Shah said the provincial Local Government Department had been undertaking a number of projects related to sewage and industrial effluent treatment plants to improve environmental conditions in Sindh.
Speaking as the guest of honour of the event, Sindh Environment and Climate Change Minister, Ismail Rahoo, said the provincial government surely required the help of the concerned non-governmental organisations and private sector to overcome the challenging issue of environmental degradation.
He said that Sindh had its own law to protect the environment and also had its separate environmental protection agency but there was a need to effectively implement the law.
He said that awareness campaigns would be conducted to let people realize the gravity of the situation due to constant degradation of the environment.
Rahoo, who earlier served as Sindh Agriculture minister, said that water conservation methods and latest irrigation techniques had to be adopted to overcome the serious water crisis in the agricultural sector of the province.
President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Shariq Vohra, said that most of the industrial units in Karachi had to secure compliance with the international and local environmental laws and regulations to ensure exports of industrial goods from Pakistan.
He praised the role of Sindh Environmental Protection Agency to help Karachi-based industries to adopt compliance with the environmental laws and regulations.
He said that unchecked vehicular emissions and absence of a viable public transport system had a massive adverse impact on the environment of Karachi.
He urged the government to install combined effluent treatment plants in Karachi so to treat industrial waste before its disposal into the sea.
Former chairman of Association of Builders and Developers Pakistan, Mohsin Sheikhani, said the upcoming real estate projects in Karachi should include the component of greenery as an essential part to protect the environment.
Principal Secretary to Sindh Governor, Dr Syed Saifur Rehman, shared with the audience the success story of planting 1,50,000 trees in Kidney Hill Park to transform the highest point of Karachi into an oxygen tank for the city.
Dr Rehman, earlier in his capacity as the KMC’s municipal commissioner, supervised the plantation project in the Kidney Hill Park that had been earlier filled with municipal and industrial waste.
He said the KMC had spent its own resources to do the plantation work as no extra grant was taken from the government to complete the project. He said that mostly indigenous fruit trees had been planted on the hill.
Dr Faiyaz Alam, General Secretary of Dua Foundation, informed the audience about the work of his non-profit to help the destitute people of Tharparkar to do cultivation to permanently resolve the issue of food shortages during the period of drought.
NFEH President, Naeem Qureshi, said that his NGO had partnered with the office of Karachi’s Commissioner and Sindh Forest Department to plant 3,50,000 tree saplings to increase green cover in the city.
As many as 75 companies were given environment excellence awards on the occasion for showing distinction in the last year to improve environmental conditions. Seven other entities also received awards for doing tree plantation in the city.