Urban forest parks must to fight warming weather


KARACHI: Karachi needs treelined streets and green parks in all its five districts to offset the harmful effects of changing weather pattern and to give the citizens a clean and green city to live in, said leaders of different political parties.

Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rahman Ameer Jamaat Islami (JI) Karachi chapter said in Karachi trees have been hacked recklessly for a decade and not a single major park developed. He said in past Mayor Abdul Sattar Afghani started a campaign of tree plantation in Karachi and later Mayor Naimatullah Khan Advocate continued it.

He said this tradition needs to be revived. He said Karachi desperately needs more green parks in every locality. He regretted after Afghani and Naimat no major tree plantation drive was introduced in the city. He said sadly in many areas parks, green belts and playgrounds were encroached upon for political purpose.

The JI said Karachi is looted by the ruling parties as it has become an orphaned city. He said it needs a changed political culture to improve socio-econmic conditions of Karachi and its residents.

Najmi Alam, president Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Karachi chapter said Karachi needs ‘city forest parks’. He said there are very few trees in Karachi saved from reckless hacking. Karachi is a mega city and it produces more pollution as compared to any other city of Pakistan. However, it has not enough trees to offset the negative effects of pollution. He said millions of new trees are urgently needed for the city. He suggested that miles long parks could be developed on the banks of the Lyari and Malir nullahs, where water has already been available to support plantation of hundreds of thousands of new trees.

Alam said in London there are no more beautiful parks except what he called jungle parks. He said these jungle parks help to reduce atmospheric cyanosis problem. He said Sindh government and KMC must promote urban forestry and develop new jungle parks besides starting a mega tree plantation campaign. He said, obviously, Sindh government is going to plant trees in a large number in the city.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s MPA Khurram Sher Zaman criticized the policies of minister for local bodies Sharjeel Inam Memon. He blamed that Sharjeel six years back when he became minister had ordered to cut trees in Karachi. He said now we can see only a small number of trees which are not enough to improve the city’s environment. He said former city nazim Mustafa Kamal is also responsible for cutting hundreds of thousands of eucalyptus trees from Karachi streets.

Zaman said that a political party has grabbed green belts and parks and through China cutting sold these lands illegally as plots. He pointed out that in Clifton Block 2 there was a green community park which was encroached upon and made an office of a political party. He said in the Sindh assembly they raised voice on this issue but no reply was given by the provincial government.

However, the Sindh government as well KMC has yet to announce a mega tree plantation drive in Karachi. These are ample spaces for planting millions of trees on the banks of Lyari and Malir Rivers and along the long coastline from Mubarrak Village to Gharo Creek. However, it needs a clear vision and strong commitment, the two important ingredients of social change that are generally found missing in the governance style in Sindh province.