The government of Pakistan has initiated a Billion Tree Tsunami project. Why? Because the dangers posed by climate change – which include extreme weather conditions, draughts and melting of glaciers – will worsen the situation in coming years. The government believes that increasing Pakistan’s forest cover is no longer an option, but more a necessity to save future generations from the disasters of climate change. In line with this vision, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has urged the city’s housing communities to take part in a plantation drive in Lahore.
How will this affect the residents of the city? What will be the outcome of this initiative? Let us discuss all these aspects and a lot more in this blog.
Why is the Plantation Drive in Lahore so Important?
Lahore has lost 75% of its tree cover in the past couple of decades, which is alarming to say the least. Even more alarming is the fact that the lack of green spaces in the City of Gardens has now ranked the city as the second worst after Karachi. The recent stats reveal that the Air Quality Index of Lahore is 67 as per the data by Air Visual, which measures the quality of air.
With these stats in hindsight, it is important to start a re-plantation drive in order to counter the carbon emission process and to have more plants and trees in the metropolis for better air quality, less pollution, to avert the dangers of climate change and also to beautify the city.
The Lahore Commissioner has launched the plantation drive in Lahore under the government’s Clean and Green Pakistan initiative. Lahore, which was once known as the City of Gardens, has lost a lot of trees and green spaces owing to the growth in population as the city shifts towards a concrete jungle at the cost of urban green cover. This plantation drive will help maintain the groundwater table, significantly improve the air quality and decrease the adverse effects of climate change.
The Afforestation Project in Lahore aims to create a tree cover. The Afforestation Project is an integral part of the Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) an NGO, which works with popular artists. They believe that these artists can act as prime catalysts of change who can encourage people to take part in Lahore’s plantation drive as initiated by the Government of Punjab.
How is the Government Planning Lahore’s Plantation Drive?
Earlier this year, the LDA had directed the metropolitan planning wing of the authority to start an extensive tree plantation drive in private housing schemes of LDA. A target of planting 300,000 new saplings was given by the LDA at the 150 private housing schemes situated in districts of Sheikhupura and Lahore.
According to Section 15 of the LDA Private Housing Scheme Rules 2014, each scheme must get approval for its horticulture and landscape plan by the LDA. As per the rules, a minimum of 7% area of any housing scheme has to be left open for greenery and plantation in the society. The private housing schemes have been instructed to work on the horticultural areas of the housing schemes i.e. to ensure there are proper green belts, family parks, beautifully decorated boulevards and open spaces in their housing communities.
In September 2019, LDA, in collaboration with Afforestation Lahore, has taken an essential step towards piloting the concept of indigenous and wild plantation on four roundabouts of LDA Avenue 1 and Raiwind Road. The aim is to grow not just trees, but also to have a healthy combination of local shrubs, grass, flowers and also medium-height trees. The recent trend of plantation in Lahore is essentially an endeavour to move beyond the usual method of using imported plants and trees as well as to make use of the local shrubs and grass that can benefit the residents of the city of gardens.
Plantation Drive on Lahore Ring Road
To increase the tree cover of Lahore, a plantation drive for Lahore Ring Road has been initiated under which a total of 5,000 tree saplings will be planted along the busiest thoroughfare. Following NGOs and authorities have initiated the idea. WWF-Pakistan, Parks and Horticulture Authority, Lahore Ring Road Authority, and Afforestation Lahore. On October 10, 2019, the plantation drive was started at the Col Arif Alam Shaheed Interchange, Lahore Ring Road, where around 100 saplings of trees belonging to native origins were planted.
As per a news report in a local English daily, “Pakistan has the highest annual deforestation rate in Asia and forest cover is less than 2% of the total land.” It is high time such initiatives are taken in metropolitan cities to address the adverse effects of climate change and to provide a clean, green pollution-free environment to the residents. Unless the concrete cover is replaced by a tree cover, cities like Lahore will continue facing heat waves and extreme weather conditions. This is why such initiatives by the government are welcomed by the people.
If you are interested in reading more about plantation in Lahore, then read our detailed piece on how through Miyawaki method an urban forest is being created in Lahore which will very much change the cityscape of Lahore. For more updates and regular posts subscribe to Zameen Blog, the best lifestyle blog in Pakistan.
If you are a passionate citizen of Lahore with brilliant ideas to combat climate change and how we can truly make Lahore the City of Gardens, then do write to us at email@example.com and we would love to hear your suggestions and views.
Oh wait, one last thing: You can also plant a tree and be a part of this plantation drive in Lahore!