WWF-Pakistan, corporate giant initiate mangrove plantation campaign

KARACHI: As part of Earth Hour 2018, WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with a corporate giant, the Artistic Fabric and Garment Industries (AFGI) Pvt Ltd, launched a mangrove plantation campaign with the aim to work towards a greener and climate resilient Karachi.

During the launch ceremony of the event organized at WWF-Pakistan’s Wetland Centre, located at Sandspit, participants from both organizations planted 300 mangrove saplings. It was committed by WWF-Pakistan and Artistic Fabric and Garment Industries that the target of planting 27,000 saplings in Karachi would be achieved by 24 March 2018.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Babar Khan, Regional Head (Sindh and Balochistan), WWF-Pakistan said that according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the year 2017 was among the three warmest years on record. Hence, there is an urgent need to connect people to nature as part of our shared responsibility and sustainable future. He also said that Pakistan has the highest annual deforestation rate in Asia and forests cover is less than 2.5 per cent of the total land. He further shared that there is an urgent need of initiating massive plantation drives in and near metropolitan cities like Karachi to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change. Climatic events, like the Karachi heatwave in 2015 caused more than one thousand human mortalities, which was very appalling.

He also shared that although Pakistan is not contributing much to climate change it ranks among the top ten most vulnerable countries; exposed to its adverse impacts. He emphasized the need of public-private partnerships to promote the cause of the environment in the country. He further said that with the commitment to support the planting of 27,000 saplings by Artistic Fabric and Garment Industries is leading the way towards sustainable solutions to deal with this challenge. Later talking to Daily Times, Dr Khan said that for each mangrove plant the corporate giant will pay WWF-Pakistan Rs. 75, thus Artistic Fabric and Garment Industries Pvt Ltd. (AFGI) will pay a total amount of Rs. 2 million for the plantation of 27000 mangroves.

Ahmed Javed, Director at Artistic Fabric and Garment Industries said, “At AFGI, we believe our responsibility goes beyond just manufacturing fabrics and garments, we must also take steps to ensure we are doing everything we can to reduce the impact on our environment. Therefore in efforts to sustain the changing ecosystem around us, we took it upon us to offset the carbon footprint of each individual at AFGI by planting 27,000 mangrove saplings. We hope this initiative will go a long way in conserving mangrove forests, benefiting the communities they support and paving the way for more partnerships like this in the future.”

Muhammad Qasim, Regional Manager (South), Corporate Partnership and Fundraising, WWF-Pakistan said that trees are essential to life on Earth, and provide vital ecosystem services like clean air, water, food, timber, medicine and many other benefits. He also shared that with climate change rising on the global environmental agenda, we need to value and conserve forests that help reduce carbon emissions and provide livelihood opportunities to local communities.

The lack of green belts and increased concrete cover which absorbs heat, has led to elevated temperatures in Karachi. Furthermore, new developmental projects and housing colonies are threatening the existence of greenery and the subsequent cutting of trees not only escalates greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions but increases temperature and vulnerability to extreme weather events.

Published in Daily Times, January 26th 2018.