Pakistan’s incoming prime minister, Imran Khan, is leading the nation to a greener future with the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami program, an environmental initiative that aims to bring ten billion new trees to the country in an effort to reduce the impact of climate change.
The program is being led by incoming environmental minister, Malik Amin Aslam who says the program shows the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party’s green promise.
“PTI is a party with a green promise,” Aslam said. According to Reuters, climate change’s impact on Pakistan is costing the country close to 4 percent of the country’s $300 billion annual economy in dealing with “environmental neglect,” degradation, and damage.
“Climate change is only making it worse,” Aslam said at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) thinktank in Islamabad last month.
The country is being affected by a number of challenges from rising global temperatures to water shortages, and air pollution.
“This also comes at a time when the public awareness of these issues – especially water and climate concerns – are on the rise,” said Aslam. “So, there is certainly the potential of momentum.”
Planting ten billion trees is no small feat; it will be the country’s most comprehensive eco-investment in its history.
The Billion Tree Tsunami is a move that will not only help mitigate the country’s deforestation issues, but improve air quality, bring more wildlife and improve the ecosystems of the region.
“Pakistan’s green cover is going down. Our cities have become concrete jungles and there is increasing air pollution. Our mode of development is wrong,” Aslam said.
Khan leveraged the initiative in the election as well. On the campaign trail he said global warming is “a reality,” pointing to trees as a logical defense against the issue.
“We will be badly affected [by climate change]. We can counter it with trees,” he said. “Growing trees is not a luxury – it is for our survival.”
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