Islamabad: Country’s largest nursery owners on Thursday set alight seedlings as part of their plan to destroy one million plants in phases starting from the World Forest Day to protest the forestation policies of the government and continued deforestation.
Talking to media, Ijaz Ali, from Mardan and Shaukat Ali from Swat said that they will kill seedlings as government and timer mafia continued to destroy forests and horticulture industry.Ten thousand seedlings have been destroyed while rest of the plants will be killed in three nurseries in Mardan and Swat, they informed.Millions of seedlings are available for plantation and tens of millions of acres of suitable land is also available but nobody is ready to take interest, said Ijaz Ali.
He said that all the seedlings have been taken care of for four to seven years; now we were not able take their care anymore therefore they will die anyway by this time next year.
Ijaz said that billions were spent on plantation and forestation during last two decades but country lost around 33 per cent of forests during the same period which proves massive corruption.
We have lost 9 lakh hectares of forests in twenty years which has taken tool on environment, wildlife, and natural system to clean air and water and bar flooding.
Pakistan’s per capita availability of forests and ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from atmosphere has seriously been compromised due to unabated deforestation, he lamented.
Shrinking forests are contributing to drier climate, reduced content of water in the soil, paying way for soil erosion, flooding, landslides, decline in biodiversity, and extinction of many species.
Pakistan with lowest level of forests in the Saarc region and dismal global ranking cannot afford to lose 1.6 per cent of forests per annum to corrupt officials and timber mafia, he added.
Reducing forest degradation is a challenge for policymakers as deforestation is a major contributor to global warming and one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect.
Calling for proper monitoring, forest management, sustainable practices and reforestation, he said that by 2030 world will lose 80 per cent of forests while global GDP will be reduced by seven per cent by 2050 due to the deforestation halving living standards of the poor.