ISLAMABAD, Feb 17 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday terming forestation a ‘lifesaver for future of Pakistan’ said the government was firm to make the country green considering its vulnerability to climate change.

“For Pakistan, the plantation is not a hobby, but a vital step to give our future generations a clean and healthy environment to breath in,” the Prime Minister said at the launch of Islamabad’s first-ever Japanese method-inspired Miyawaki forest at Shakarparian hills.

The Miyawaki technique helps in plant growth, which is 10 times faster and results in 30 times denser forestation.

Twenty sites in Islamabad have been identified to be developed on lines of Miyawaki style, also called Potted Seedling Method.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan was among the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change and rising temperatures, and stressed the need for urgent steps to mitigate the challenge.

He pointed that environmental conditions in the metropolitans like Lahore and Peshawar – once known as the Garden Cities, had become awful due to increased levels of pollution.

He said the air-borne toxins were particularly dangerous for elderly and children, and could result in reducing an average eleven years of a human life.

He regretted that the alarming situation was in fact the fallout of turning Lahore into a ‘concrete jungle’ by callous tree-cutting and said rapid forestation was the only way to counter it.

Imran Khan emphasized changing the lifestyles in a way to be ‘more caring and friendly towards the environment.

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“Our government is determined to bring change on earth (through plantation) and to the mindsets as well,” he said.

He mentioned that the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had successfully planted one billion trees in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and was committed to achieving the next 10 Billion Tree Tsunami goal.

The Prime Minister commended the efforts of Federal Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and his team for executing the forestation projects in an effective manner.

He called upon the youth to take reigns of their future in their own hands’ and actively participate in the government’s plantation drive.

Imran Khan said the inclusion of chapters related to a plantation in the academic syllabus was also under consideration to sensitize the next generation right from their early ages.

He urged the schools and colleges to set targets of plantation for their students to encourage them about being gentle towards the environment.

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“Together, we will make a Green Pakistan – environmentally sustainable and worth-living for future generations,” he said.

Earlier, the Prime Minister planted a sapling of Pine at Shakarparian, flanked by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Climate Change Minister Malik Amin Aslam and Senator Faisal Javed Khan.

On February 12, Prime Minister Imran Khan had kickstarted the plantation drive in Lahore where 50 sites had been chosen for Miyawaki style forestation.

The Prime Minister had earlier termed plantation through rapid growth modes such as Japan’s Miyawaki technique “the best way to fight pollution”.

Imran Khan had mentioned that the first experiment was carried out at Liberty roundabout in Lahore last year with successful results.

On his Twitter, he had also shared a before and after a photograph of the roundabout, with the striking difference between the earlier barren and later dense plantation in one year.

      -Reporting by Shumaila Andleeb