WWF-Pakistan observes Earth Day across Pakistan
Karachi/Lahore/Islamabad: WWF-Pakistan celebrated Earth Day across the country by carrying out tree plantation drives to raise environmental awareness while symbolically tackling deforestation.
Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan said, ‘The theme for Earth Day this year is Trees for the Earth , which stresses the need for every individual, business or policymaker to take action to protect the natural assets and resources of our beautiful country. This movement is celebrated in more than 192 countries to raise awareness and highlight critical environmental issues facing us today. Taking this opportunity, WWF seeks your support to mitigate pollution, curb deforestation and manage our water resources on priority to enable us live in harmony with nature.’
A mangrove plantation drive organised by Defence Housing Authority, Karachi, in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan was held at Defence Authority Creek Club. Commander 5 Crops, Lt General Naveed Mukhtar, was the chief guest on the occasion. Appreciating WWF-Pakistan and DHA efforts in rehabilitating the depleting mangroves forest area he said, ‘Promoting plantation, greenery and the natural environment is essential for a vibrant and healthy society.’ Brig (R) Mukhtar Ahmed, Vice President Emeritus, WWF-Pakistan; Hammad Naqi Khan, DG WWF-Pakistan; and Agha Tahir Hussain, PD & Conservator Mangroves, Government of Sindh, were also present on the occasion.
In connection with the theme of Earth Day 2016, WWF-Pakistan organised a debating competition at Dunga Gali, Ayubia National Park, on ‘The importance of plants for life on Earth.’ A total of 22 students from nine schools participated in the event. Participant from Government Girls High School Khanispur won the competition whereas Government High School, Kari Raiki, and Government High School, Samandar Katha, secured second and third position respectively. Praising the efforts of WWF-Pakistan, Sardar Muhammad Nawaz, Sub-Division Forest Officer (SDFO/Wildlife), Abbottbad, said ‘This is a great initiative by WWF-Pakistan to sensitise children about nature conservation. I’m sure these children will become custodian of our natural resources in the near future.’ WWF-Pakistan for the past 19 years has been imparting environmental awareness and education in various schools around the Ayubia National Park under conservation research projects and believes that natural resources of the area can only be conserved with the help of custodian communities’ awareness.
An event was also organized in collaboration with Beacon house School System Johar Town Junior Campus (BSS JT Jr.), Lahore, where Earth Day was celebrated through a thematic environmental puppet show. Exhibits were also made by students from recycled material as a gesture to reduce their ecological footprint. All the students of the school pledged to protect the Earth and planted saplings at the occasion. Tree plantation drives aim to sensitize students to reduce their carbon footprint and burden on the environment. Various other schools, colleges and universities that have partnered with WWF-Pakistan’s Green School Programme and International Eco-Internship Programme also participated in the Earth Day tree plantation drive. Similarly, an awareness raising activity in collaboration with the U.S.-Pakistan Youth Council was arranged at Forman Christian College, Lahore.
Due to increasing environmental awareness and education, the positive role of the media and decision-makers, the annual deforestation rate in Pakistan has decreased to 1.6 per cent per annum, according to a 2012 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as compared to 2.1 per cent per annum (once the highest in Asia) according to a 2009 report by the FAO.
Earth Day is celebrated every year on 22 April, where events are organized across the world to show support for conservation of the environment and to highlight critical environmental issues. It was first celebrated in 1970.