KARACHI: The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) kicked off its seasonal plantation drive on Saturday at their head office in Korangi by planting 100 saplings.
Environmentalists, environmental activists, journalists and officials of Sepa participated in the event. This included the agency’s director-general, Baqaullah Unar, who also holds the post of secretary of climate change and coastal development. He inaugurated the plantation drive by planting gul mohar, neem, amaltas, siris and sukhchain saplings.
The plantation drive will continue around the province during which thousands of saplings will be planted. The participants of the event were encouraged to take saplings home with them in order to carry on this initiative at their own homes.
Stressing the need for a better environment, Unar advised citizens to plant as many trees as they can, as it is currently the right season for plantation drives.
He said, sadly Pakistan is one of the worst hit countries by climate change and if necessary steps are not taken and climate change is not taken seriously, then the country will continue to experience severe floods, increased temperatures and smog-like phenomena in the near future.
He added that the significance of trees cannot be ignored, as they are the lungs of the Earth, providing us with adequate amounts of oxygen. The shortage of green spaces is deeply felt in most parts of the country, including Sindh, said Unar, adding that Sepa is devising future strategies and working alongside environmentalists to combat this and avert natural calamities.
He added that with the plantation of more trees, it is possible to control the effects of climate change but we should also admit that we are already late in understanding the global changes brought about by climate change.
Unar said the environment is an issue that should never be politicised. All stakeholders should work on their own terms for a better environment, he told participants. He added that while people sometimes plant saplings after cutting down a fully grown tree, they do not understand the value of irreplaceable sources of shade and homes to several species of birds.
“Cutting down trees is akin to murder and the criminal must be given same punishment. All these trees breathe and support the human breathing system, cutting them is like killing the human support system,” said Unar.
The environmental watchdog head also said that they have made plans to procure tree transplantation machinery in order to avoid cutting down trees.
He was also reminded the participants of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Sepa and the Karachi Press Club’s (KPC) committee on health and environment for the plantation of 1,000 trees at the KPC Housing Society at Hawke’s Bay, Scheme 42.
Environmental activist Naeem Qureshi said that while he believes the existing environmental laws are satisfactory, they require implementation otherwise the province’s ecosystem will suffer. He said more plantation drives should be organised before it is too late.
Another activist, famous for his urban forest, Shahzad Qureshi pointed out that latest innovative policies should be adopted. With better strategy and coordination between the government and environmentalists, the goal of a human and earth-friendly environment can be achieved, he said.