Pakistan will be host to World Environment Day this year to mark the launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was informed on Monday.

The day will be used to highlight the efforts being made in Pakistan and globally to counter environmental challenges like climate change, global warming, and environmental pollution. This year’s theme for the day will be ecosystem restoration, with a focus on harbouring a sustainable relationship with nature.

Acknowledging Pakistan’s environmental efforts, UNEP Exective Director Inger Anderson said: “Pakistan has shown real leadership in efforts to restore the country’s forests; we are grateful for their commitment to host World Environment Day 2021 and lead the charge for all nations to restore our damaged ecosystems through the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.”

Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, at the virtual fifth UN Environment Assembly, expressed the urgency of restoring natural ecosystem globally and highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to combat environmental challenges.

“The government is fully committed towards playing a leadership role in addressing the issue of climate change, including through the 10 Billion Trees Tsunami initiative, which will restore and enhance over one million hectares of forest land across the country,” he said. “We are honoured to host this year’s World Environment Day and lend our support to global restoration efforts.”

The 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative was launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan to restore forestation efforts in Pakistan to combat pollution and climate change. Recently, the Prime Minister inaugurated the plantation of urbans forests in Islamabad and Lahore using the Japanese Miyawaki method.

“I have launched urban forestry on the lines of Miyawaki technique in Japan where the trees grow 10 times faster and 30 times denser and is the best way to fight pollution,” he had said at the inauguration. “50 sites have been chosen in Lahore. First experiment was in Liberty roundabout in 2020.”

Under the Miyawaki approach, multiple native species of plants are planted close to each other, in the same area, so plants receive sunlight only from the top, and grow upwards instead of sideways.

Lahore is one of the most polluted cities in Pakistan, with levels of smog rising each year. Speaking at the inauguration, the Prime Minister attributed this to the lack of forest cover in the city.

“The forest cover of Lahore has been reduced by 70% in the last 12-13 years,” he said. “If this kind of consistent smog remains, it reduces the average lifespan by 6-11 years.”

Last week, the Prime Minister launched the Spring Tree Plantation Campaign and inaugurated a Miyawaki Forest in Islamabad, which would be replicated at 20 other sites in the capital.

At the occasion, the Prime Minister said that unfortunately, Pakistan is among the top ten countries which have been affected by climate change. He added that plantation is essential for the next generations in Pakistan, and the role of youth is also very important for achieving the goal of the ten billion tree plantation campaign in the country.

The writer is a member of staff
The reporting desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk

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