–Premier urges masses to join govt’s efforts to improve environment, regrets rising pollution in Lahore due to deforestation
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday launched the Clean Green Pakistan Index (CGPI) as part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s efforts to curb pollution and reduce the drastic effects of climate change.
In the initial phase of the CGPI, 19 cities, including Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Okara and Bahawalpur, have been selected to compete on certain issues of public interest.
The selected cities will be judged on addressing issues such as safe drinking water, solid waste management, liquid waste management, city beautification, cleanliness of streets, the usability of parks, tree plantation, total sanitation/hygiene and community participation.
Addressing the launch ceremony, the prime minister reaffirmed his commitment to making Pakistan “clean and green” and urged the masses to join the government’s efforts.
He regretted that over the past decade, Lahore had lost about 70 percent of its tree cover as the city became an urban center. He noted that pollution levels in Lahore had increased drastically and now pose a danger to its residents because no measures were taken to curb pollution and preserve the environment.
“This (deforestation) was bound to have an impact,” he said and promised that the government will gradually increase funds for the initiative.
Imran said every segment of the society, including the administration, the elected representatives and the youth should become part of the clean and green initiative to fight environmental degradation and protect the future of this country.
He said it was due to the participation of the people that we planted one billion trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over a period of five years. Now we will make the entire country green with particular focus on the cities where specific areas will be identified for plantation.
Imran said that an efficient local bodies system is also being introduced in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. This system envisages empowerment of the people at the grassroots level. He said the elected representatives at the village level will also be made part of the regional level competitions on environmental indicators.
The premier said Pakistan is blessed with immense resources, including twelve climatic zones, fertile land and natural resources. He said we need to value these resources in order to help the country stand on its own feet. He said given the immense beauty of the country, it will be made a destination for tourism.
Addressing the ceremony, Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said the government is committed to making Pakistan a clean and green country.
He said in the first phase of this drive, healthy cleanliness competition will be conducted in 19 cities. He said students from schools and universities are being engaged in the drive. He urged general public to make this drive success.
The adviser said the youth of country should register and participate in this drive and the government will recognize and reward those who actively participate.
He said electric vehicles will be introduced to reduce environmental pollution in the country.
The adviser said the government is planning to prevent the water wastage as thousands of gallons of clean water are being wasted in the sea due to lack of policies in utilizing water resources.