President Dr Arif Alvi has said that the presence of an urban forest next to Mazar-e-Quaid will serve the purpose of Karachi’s lungs to clean the environment of the city and to let its citizens breathe in the fresh air. President expressed these remarks while addressing the ceremony to inaugurate the Jinnah Urban Forest here in front of the Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam. President urged the concerned stakeholders including community-based and non-governmental organisations to work together to increase tree cover in Karachi to effectively combat the issue of environmental pollution.
He highlighted the need to practically involve school students in plantation activities in order to make them responsible citizens for the future who were capable of planting trees and also taking care of them. He praised the efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan for launching the Billion Tree Tsunami Project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for ensuring a clean environment for future generations. He said the PM had launched efforts to stop logging and tree cutting and to increase plantation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as later on the campaign had been expanded to all over the country despite that the activity didn’t generate votes for him in elections.
The President complained about irresponsible attitude mostly shown by the tourists regarding waste disposal in hilly resorts in the north of the country as the unsocial practice had been highly harmful to the pristine conditions in these areas. He said that even Mount Everest had not been spared of the issue of unchecked waste disposal as the mountaineers going to the world’s highest mountain were being asked to bring with them their trash instead of leaving there unattended for environmental protection.
He said the more and more community-based organisations should come forward to plant trees while following the traditions of Bohra and Ismaili communities whose members had been actively working to make Karachi clean and green. He said the healthy practice of tree plantation should be adopted by the concerned citizens and organisations as a passion for the good of society.
Dr Alvi asked the administration of the Jinnah Urban Forest to open the urban green space to people of Karachi as early as possible to let them enjoy greenery in the midst of city’s hustle and bustle. President of Community Association for Welfare Services, Shaukat Omeri, informed that around 5,000 trees had been planted in Jinnah Urban Forest including different species of fruit, flower, and shade-giving trees He said the urban forest also featured walkways, jogging tracks, and biking trails. He said that a special feature of the urban forest was the Islamic garden featuring trees mentioned in the Holy Quran.
Omeri said that his organisation had the aim to develop in the same manner the more barren area surrounding the Mazar-e-Quaid including Bagh-e-Jinnah for increasing tree cover in the city. He appealed to the President to patronize healthy sporting activities in the country.
The event was also attended by office-bearers of 12 different sports organisations, members of Quaid-e-Azam Mazar Management Board (QMMB), Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Heritage, Ghazala Saifi, Vice-Chancellor of NED University of Engineering & Technology, Prof Dr SH Lodi; President of Horticultural Society of Pakistan, Fahim Siddiqui, QMMB’s Resident Engineer Abdul Aleem Shaik, President of National Forum for Environment and Health, Naeem Qureshi, Arif Elahi, and others.