KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed the forest department to develop two separate blocks of forests – each one spreading over an area of 10,000 acres near Karachi and Hyderabad to control environmental pollution and improve the overall environmental conditions in both the cities.
He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting of the forest department at the CM House on Friday. The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Forest & Wildlife Asif Hyder Shah, the chief conservators and other concerned officers.
The chief minister said that huge lands of the forest department are lying barren near Karachi and Hyderabad.
“These both cities are facing environmental pollution, therefore two separate blocks of forests may be developed near them,” he said while adding that each block must be spread over an area of 10,000 acres and should be watered through drip irrigation system.
Giving a presentation to the chief minister, Secretary Forest Asif Hyder Shah said that the total forest land in the province is 3.3million that has come to 10 percent of Sindh’s surface area. The forests include mangroves or coastal forests, barrage area agricultural sustainability through trees/forestry, riverine forests, irrigation plantation and range lands – desert-trees as tools for drought management.
He showed a base map of 140,914 square kilometers forests which include irrigation plantation over an area of 202,622 acres, riverine forests over 595,511 acres, rangelands over 1,129,000 acres and mangroves of 1,500,000 acres.
Talking about the achievements of the forest department, Asif said that mangroves have been planted over an area of 175,000 acres during the last five years.
“We broke the Guinness World Record of planting the most number trees in one day back in 2009 and once again set a new record by planting 847,275 trees in 2013.”
On this, the chief minister gave him a new target of planting one million mangroves in March.
“I would personally launch the drive on March 23,” said the chief minister.
Giving details of the forest department’s major achievements during 2017-18, the secretary forest said that 21,000 acres or 8.92million mangrove plants were planted in six months, another 21,000 acres would be planted in June 2018 and in order protect the new plants, a community watch and ward system has been developed. He added that the natural regeneration of about 180 to 200million plants has already been made.
The chief minister was told that riverine forests over 5,000 acres or 100 million seeds have been broadcasted. New irrigation plantation has been made over 1000 acres which come to 700,000 plants. 12 million container plants in the nurseries have also been developed. The forest department has also carried out linear plantation on an area of over 400km.
The chief minister directing the secretary forest to issue a notice to the lessees who have violated the lease conditions also ordered the removal of encroachments from the forest land.