Karachi is a huge city with a population of about 20 million people. There is a consensus among environmentalists that big cities are large producers of Carbon Dioxide, while trees on the other hand, scrub this gas and release life giving Oxygen. The tree population in this city is too small compared to our population. The recent heat wave created havoc in our city, and among other things trees are beneficial because they encourage rainfall, increase cloud cover,and at the very least provide a shade for people to rest underneath.
We are starting a Sarsabz Puraman Karachi greening campaign. Our idea is to use the emotions and feelings generated in this current tragedy towards a positive and constructive effort to make Karachi Green.
The ideal time to plant trees in Karachi is July 15 onwards for a month or more because monsoon rains will help initial nurturing. The next cycle in a calendar year comes in would be in the spring in February.
We have a multi pronged approach for this campaign:
- We need to encourage government institutions like Sindh Government, KMC, KWSB, Cantonments etc. to own the idea of Tree Plantation as an enthusiastic campaign and help implement it in the following manner:
- Make government nurseries ready to supply existing tree saplings to the public and at low cost. The best estimates for this summer is that a few hundred thousand saplings may be available.
- Subsequently they should ensure that these nurseries develop a stock of 2-3 million saplings by February. This may require some financial help.
- Encourage adoption of parks and playgrounds by multinationals/businesses and people for greening and planting of trees etc.
- Encourage government schools to plant trees within their premises.
- Increase roadside plantation of trees and take care of them.
- Develop a long term program which brings regularity to these efforts.
- Government and Private Schools should adopt this program and make each class responsible for the tree/s. This will ensure watering and care as well. It will also encourage a sense of environmental and participatory social service in the school children.
- Banks and Multinationals can participate in this effort that is desperately needed by the city in which they do business. It will have a good impact on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) image as well. Participation can be from the simplest level of ensuring 20 new trees in their premises… to the higher level of adopting parks, playgrounds and roads etc. for greening. They can also help the government nurseries in the project of preparation of saplings for the future.
- We should encourage every House and Home in Karachi to plant a tree either inside or outside their house on the road or sidewalk. The biggest issue is how to take care of the trees once they are planted and it is definitely easier to take care of them if done in this manner.
- We must encourage planting of vegetables in apartment balconies and on the roofs of houses where there is adequate sunshine, and it also can have a cooling effect inside the house.
- We must organise a ‘tree bank’ in Karachi which could keep count of the stock in all nurseries for the future. The public can select a tree among a variety which may be on offer.
- All NGOs and individuals interested in tree plantation as a project can join hands and participate.
- We are already in contact with electronic media houses, and all of them are very eager to play a major part.
Planting trees is a big Sadqa Jaria and a great contribution towards a better environment. For those of you who want to take part in this campaign you can become part of our team. Please also inform us if you are interested in picking up a part of this project. NGOs who have been working on these lines let us join hands.
Please email Mr Shahzad Qureshi: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at: 03212593761
Dr Arif Alvi