First billion plantation target to be achieved in June 2021: Amin

ISLAMABAD, Feb 9 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Tuesday said first one billion target of plantation under Ten Billion Tree Tsunami (TBTT) would be achieved in June this year.

The spring season plantation this year would focus on urban plantation aimed at increasing the dwindling green cover of urban centers to reduce risk of flooding, heat wave, pollution and other climate change induced calamities, said the SAPM addressing a media briefing here.

He said the TBTT was guarantee to the country’s resilience and preparedness against adverse impacts of environmental degradation and Opposition parties should avoid criticizing it. He said the country’s biggest weapon against climate change was TBTT while we had set a 3.2 billion tree plantation target till 2023 under the scheme. “The TBTT project has helped in raising 300 million plants at present in the nurseries.”

The SAPM said that it was not merely focused on plantation rather had introduced protected areas initiative increasing the number of protected nature reserves. Billion Tree Honey initiative and Olive tree tsunami initiatives were also to be launched this year under TBTT. Under Billion Tree Honey the forests with TBTT plantation would be used to produce honey and wild olive trees after grafting would be made fruit bearing trees over the next two years, he added.

The Wildlife Conservation Center in the place of Islamabad Zoo was also under the TBTT programme whereas the plantation scheme had helped generate 85,000 daily waged green jobs during Covid-19 lockdown.

Amin emphasised that the project was transparently running at a faster pace where a three tier monitoring system was in place. Firstly, the provinces were monitoring then their data was checked by the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) at the federal government level. The third-level monitoring of TBTT was done by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and WWF, IUCN and FAO through a tripartite consortium.

He highlighted that TBTT and BTT together would help remove 500 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon from the atmosphere which was far bigger than the 20 percent pledged target under nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“The UN, FAO heads, ambassadors of various countries and global rock stars are sharing images of thriving plantation under TBTT and BTT on social media where the UN Chief hailed the TBTT as a model project for the world.” Amin said a recent scientific study revealed that Mangroves had 300 percent increased since 1990 in Pakistan that showed Pakistan was leading in all aspects of forestry. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in its 2004 report claimed 27,000 hectares (ha) of deforestation per annum in the country where after Billion Tree Tsunami implementation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and TBTT was reduced to 8,000 ha per year.

“The loss of forests due to deforestation should be zero ha per annum in the country and TBTT will help achieve this ambitious target.” In 2011, he said the International Court had provided 50,000 square kilometers other than its existing water limits in the international waters. “No one ever thought to dig out the treasure hidden under these waters in the form of carbon sequestered under the sea. A blue carbon study through World Bank is underway to estimate the level of carbons absorbed that will worth over millions of dollars.”

The SAPM also showed pictorials and videos with satellite images of various forests’ plantation under TBTT and BTT (in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-KP) where Prime Minister Imran Khan himself launched different plantation campaigns.

A 3500-acre land of Balloki area was encroached that the provincial government recouped from land grabbers and initiated block plantation on 1500 acres of the area which was now lush green, the SAPM noted. He also underscored that Pakistan was persistently among the three world countries placed among top10 countries facing serious impact of climate change among Philippine and Haiti.

Pakistan’s image improved from 5th to 8th in the Global Risk Index by German Watch as no major flood occurred in the past few years. The country’s average temperature had increased 1 degree Celsius that impacted agriculture, caused 20 percent rain variability resulting change in pattern of waterfall, increased summers, urban flooding and rise in formation of glacial lakes.

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