Chairman Tehreek e Insaf Imran Khan lauded the personnel involved in the Billion Tree Project (BTP) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017. He said this while addressing a ceremony at the convention center in Islamabad organized by a BTP committee. The event was organized to celebrate the completion of the initiative.
The aim was to plant one billion trees in various suburban areas, townships and alongside transit routes increasing the forestland by 22%. The total restored forest area as per the completion is approximately 350,000 hectares. The long-term objectives are to help combat pollution and to counter the hazards of deforestation.
Pakistan has also been rendered the most susceptible to climate change with an increase of 1 degree Celsius in mean temperature.
Also in attendance were the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister (CM) Pervez Khattak, Advisor to Chief Minister on Environment, Muhammad Ishtiaq Umar and Head of Green Growth Initiative Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Malik Amin Aslam.
Muhammad Ishtiaq Umar delivered an address to highlight the various pros of the initiative, the elements involved in the project and the maintenance of the plantations. Malik Amin Aslam also spoke about the different challenges that the initiative had come across and how the BTP management resolved them.
The Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that the most complex challenge in the initiative was countering the timber mafia. He said that in the past ten years, the timber mafia had cut down wood worth Rs. 200 Billion.
He said that these people had to be apprehended during the Billion Tree Project and the government had had to ensure the safety of the newly planted trees from further theft. He also said that the government had to manage this initiative within the Rs.110 Billion budget allocated to the province for all of its administrative requirements.
The Billion Tree Project is an environmental conservation project that was launched by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in 2014.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan congratulated the CM, the Billion Tree initiative team and the organizers of the event on its successful execution. He said that Muhammad Ishtiaq, the minister for the environment had been the most committed individual towards this cause.
He narrated the incident of the forest guard that was murdered by the timber mafia attempting to reclaim a forest turf and said that the minister had himself gone with the armed search parties which were highly commendable.