–Stimulus introduced by repurposing World Bank funds
–PM to launch initiative to conserve protected natural areas, national parks across country
KARACHI: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Saturday said the present government has introduced a Green Stimulus and Green Recovery package to revive the country’s economy for ensuring that economic activities in the post-Covid-19 scenario would not harm nature.
The adviser stated this in a video-link a roundtable discussion hosted by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) to mark World Environment Day 2020, according to a news release.
The FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Environment organised the roundtable whose majority of the participants joined the discussion via video-link in view of the lockdown restrictions against the spread of the coronavirus.
The PM’s adviser said that stimulus had come into action during the lockdown enforced in the country, adding that the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project had been utilised to employ 65,000 people as most of them had lost their jobs in urban areas of the country and had come back to their native rural localities during the lockdown.
Malik Amin Aslam said these jobs were mostly related to nurseries established to promote greenery and to check wildfires in forest areas during the peak summer.
He said Pakistan had become the first nation in the world to repurpose World Bank funds for the revival of nature in the country to deal with the post-pandemic situation.
The World Bank has allowed the repurposing of $180 million of its funding in Pakistan while recognising the country’s environmental recovery process.
He said that PM would soon launch an initiative to conserve protected natural areas and national parks across the country.
He said that Clean, Green Pakistan initiative of the present government being followed in 20 cities of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) was also playing an important role to conserve nature and environment in the country.
FPCCI President Mian Anjum Nisar said that environmental degradation had been responsible for slow economic progress and backwardness of the poor sections of the Pakistani population.
He said that exponential increase in the population had been responsible for the destruction of forests and nature reserves in the country due to ever-expanding human settlements.
Mian Anjum Nisar said that irresponsible and unreasonable exploitation of natural and mineral resources in the country had been responsible for various socio-economic and health issues faced by the citizens.
He said that Pakistan should focus on claiming carbon credits on the basis of its ever-increasing economic activities as being done by its neighbouring countries.
National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) former director general (DG) Dr Shahid Amjad stressed the need to conserve mangrove forests for protection of the marine ecosystem of the country.
He said that conservation of the coastal resources in the country should be made part of the national accounting system owing to their importance for a large section of the Pakistani population.
Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Director General (PEPA) Farzana Altaf said that the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act-1997 envisaged imprisonment up to two years for anyone causing harm to the environment but such harsh measures against environmental degradation were seldom used.
Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) Director General (DG) Naeem Mughal said SEPA had become the first environmental watchdog in the country, which initiated the process of penalising government-run civic and municipal agencies for causing harm to the environment.