Karachi loses a century-old banyan tree

Karachi loses a century-old banyan tree

KARACHI: With onset of monsoon tree plantation session on Saturday, the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has started province wise tree plantation campaign to increase the declined forest cover across Sindh.

Director General, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, Baqaullah Unar inaugurated the province wise tree plantation campaign by planting a Neem Tree outside the SEPA Complex on Chamra Chowrangi, Korangi.

Latter, talking to journalists at his office, Unar said that due to massive forest cutting, Sindh is going through environmental disaster and to reduce the environmental degradation, Sindh needs massive tree plantation. He said that the campaign would continue for entire monsoon session and during this campaign, SEPA will ensure plantation in all government offices, educational institutes across Sindh.

"We will also provide samplings for those interested planting a tree," he announced. He further said that he has requested the chief secretary Sindh to write letter to every government department to plant trees near their offices. On a question, Unar said that SEPA will not just plant trees during this campaign, but will also ensure protection of these trees until they grow to full size.

However, on the first day on monsoon tree plantation session when SEPA officiasl were busy inaugurating tree plantation camping, residents of one of Karachi's countless slums were busy cutting a centaury-old banyan tree.

A resident of Allahwali slum, located inside a narrow lane besides the Handicraft Building on main Abduallah Haroon Road, near Zenab Market, cut a centaury-old banyan tree. Talking to Daily Times, without disclosing his name, the resident of the slum admitted that he has cut the tree to expand his house by constructing an extra room. "Also this tree was about to fall, so I thought, its better to cut it down, otherwise it will fall on someone in future".

When contacted, Director General, SEPA, Baqaullah Unar said that he will talk to the authorities and will ensure that an FIR must be launched against the culprits. "On Monday, I will talk to the concerned authorities and will ensure that a case must be registered, also we will ensure that the culprits must plant trees as compensation".

Ali Hassan Sajid, Director Media, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation has announced to register a case against the culprits. "I am talking to the concerned authorities and will ask them to register a case against those involved in this act of cutting such an old tree," he told Daily Times.

In the past during Mustafa Kamal's tenure around two million trees of conocarpus were planted indifferent areas of Karachi but they proved to an environmental disaster rather then providing a relief for the citizens .

Being Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi has around 15,000 industrial units and vehicles, which cause air pollution and are also responsible for increasing temperature. In June, 2015, a deadly heat wave hit Karachi that killed more than 2000 people in just three days.

In Karachi, on the name of tree plantation, several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations and government departments initiated so many projects, but none of them has actually plant any tree. In 2014, a notorious NGO, which always used name of United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) illegally to generate illegal funds, started a project to plant 50,000 samplings . For this project, the notorious NGO advertised that the project is kicked off in collaboration with Commissioner Karachi Division, The Federation Of Pakistan Chambers Of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) and even UNEP, but practically only 100 samplings were planted for a photo session.



Published in Daily Times, July 16th , 2017.