October 14, 2018 Environmental Journalism Web Desk
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday kicked off a countrywide 'Clean and Green Pakistan' drive to tackle the challenges of increasing pollution and global warming.
The prime minister launched the drive at the Islamabad College for Girls by planting a sapling and sweeping the lawns of the college.
Holding a broom and wearing a white shalwar kameez, the prime minister picked garbage and disposed it of before washing hands to teach youngsters proper cleanliness methods.
PM hopes that after plantation of 10 billion trees, Pakistan's weather pattern would change altogether
On the first day of the nationwide drive, ceremonies were held across the country to invite the public as well as government officials to clean localities and plant trees.
The prime minister was accompanied by his Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, Special Assistants Iftikhar Durrani and Naeemul Haq and Senator Faisal Javed besides representatives of international organisations.
Later, while addressing the ceremony, he congratulated the students and teachers of the college for holding a successful ceremony to launch the five-year-long drive.
The prime minister recalled the remarkable role played by the students for raising funds for the Shaukat Khanum Hospital across the country and urged them to replicate the same dedication for this drive.
The prime minister said that his government would inherit a Pakistan which would be cleaner than Europe. He expressed concerns over polluted rivers in the country and swelling pollution to an alarming level in Lahore, particularly in winters.
He said according to a study, excessive pollution shortened the life expectancy by average 11 years. "The swelling pollution will mar the future of our upcoming generations," said the premier. He said besides cleanliness, enhancement of the green cover was equally essential as Pakistan was the seventh most affected country by global warming.
He said after successful completion of billion tree tsunami in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the government had launched a five-year 10 billion tree tsunami across the country. Mr Khan hoped that after plantation of 10 billion trees, the weather pattern of the country would change altogether.
The prime minister said the cleanliness drive would not remain confined to posh areas but it would also cover the slums and reiterated his government's plan to regularise and provide housing to the slum dwellers.
The drive also comprises construction of landfill sites in all areas to ensure proper disposal of garbage.
Mr Khan also interacted with the representatives of international organisations and shared with them the government's plans to cope with climate change and global warming.
Later, talking to APP, Malik Aslam said the government would change the people's mindset and behaviour to make the initiative a success. He said the drive would be funded by the government as well as the donors. Regarding waste disposal, he said the government was mulling over various models in this regard and would finalise one soon.
He said the waste-to-energy projects were also under considerations and the government would execute the same through public-private partnership as discussion was already in process with a German ambassador.
The Nation : Pakistan will be cleaner than Europe in five years: PM
The News : Clean and Green Pakistan drive kicks off: Pakistan to be cleaner than Europe in next five years: Imran
Business Recorder : PM launches 'Clean and Green Pakistan' drive
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