One billion trees to be planted in 2022: Amin Aslam

Special Assistant to PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam addresses inauguration ceremony of Miyawaki Urban Forest site at Rialto Park, Near Mareer Chowk, Rawalpindi on January 10, 2022.

RAWALPINDI, Jan 10 (APP):Federal Minister for Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam on Monday said that the government had set a plantation target of one billion trees for 2022.

Talking to media persons after inaugurating the urban Miyawaki Forest and street library set up by Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA), he said over 600 million sapling would be planted in all provinces Gilgit-Baltistan under first target set for the spring plantation of 2022 that would start from Jan 15.

He said that the Miyawaki Forest and street library were wonderful gifts of RDA for the residents of Rawalpindi city.

He said, the plants in this forest had grown up to 8 to 9 feet during 7 to 8 months, adding nearly 8500 plants of over 50 species were grown in this forest.

Amin Aslam appreciated RDA for establishing urban Miyawaki Forest in a congested area in accordance with ten billion tree tsunami vision of the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He informed, “We have established nearly 100 urban Miyawaki Forests in Lahore and more than 100 Miyawaki Forests were also set up in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

Malik Amin Aslam said, “The plantation under ten billion tree tsunami project was being carried out over 9500 sites. We are going to put all the sites on the website. Today, its final approval has been given and anyone will be able to check the sites and the plantation activities. The step is being taken to ensure complete transparency for the project.”

He said that more urban Miyawaki Forest project would be set up in Rawalpindi city to provide the citizens clean and green environment.

To a question about cutting of trees from forests of Kotli Sattian he said that an operation was launched earlier and strict action was taken against those involved in illegal activity.

Amin Aslam informed that a comprehensive strategy was being evolved to protect the forests.

Local residents of the forest areas would be hired to ensure protection of the forests.

They would be made forest guards to prevent fire incidents in the forest areas. Such project was implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which remained successful, he added.

A plan had been formulated and the project would be implemented soon as the Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced a fund for the project, he said.

To another question about Murree incident, the Minister said that a high powered inquiry committee had been formed to prepare a report within few days, adding, Pakistan was among top 10 countries affected most by climate change.

The alerts issued by the Met office should be taken seriously and immediate planning should also be done, he added.

The Standard Operating Procedures should also be followed in letter and spirit. Every tourist spot had its carrying capacity, he said adding, “We will have to set carrying capacity of our tourist spots.

Murree, Nathiagali were hot tourist spots of the country and overcrowding should not be allowed in such areas.”

He expressed the hope that no such incident would occur in future as the tragic Murree incident would also be used as course correction.

Replying to a question about use of agricultural land by the housing societies he said that directives had been issued that no agricultural land could be converted into housing societies.

Earlier, the approval for establishing a housing society was given at commissioner level but now, the provincial cabinet would approve new housing projects.

The step had been taken to make the approval to convert agricultural land for housing project, a difficult task so that the agricultural land could be protected, he added.

He further said that there was no master plan for any city. After 1960, no master plan was formulated for any city. On the directives of the Prime Minister, the master plans of 80 cities were being devised which would be finalized within five to six months.

The master plans would help contain the limits of the cities and there would be no expansion of the cities beyond their limits.

The government was encouraging the construction vertically to save agricultural land, he said.

To a question about installation of sewerage plants and plantation by the housing societies he said, “We are going to issue an order for environmental audit of all the housing societies and strict action would be taken against those violating the rules.”

Earlier, Chairman RDA Tariq Mehmood Murtaza said that 8500 plants of over 50 species were grown in the urban Miyawaki Forests established by Rawalpindi Development Authority at Rialto Chowk.

He informed that no government funds were utilized and, the forest was set up with the funding raised by the donors. It’s a landmark project, he added.

He said that the street library set up at Rialto Chowk was an effort to bring the citizens back to the habit of reading books.

On the occasion, Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Gulzar Hussain Shah and several officers of RDA were also present.