Pir Muhammad Misal Shah, a septuagenarian who got retirement from Education Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is contributing majority of his pension on free distribution of plants amongst people for making air of Peshawar clean and pollution free. For the last five years, Misal Shah is utilizing his energies on combating air pollution in Peshawar, ranked amongst the most polluted cities of the world. He has established a nursery near Gul Bahar area of Peshawar from where people can get free of cost saplings to plant in their home or field. “My nursery is open for everyone who can visit here and get any plant he likes without demanding a single penny from him,” he added. During the last five years, the elderly environmentalist has distributed thousands of saplings free of cost amongst the dwellers of Peshawar in his bid to increase green cover in the city which in the annals of history enjoyed the distinction as `City of Flowers’. He hailed the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan for increasing the green cover in the country through launching of mega initiatives including Billion Tree and Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Projects. Talking to APP, Misal Shah said, “Environmental degradation has become a very serious issue and if we do not give heed to improving green cover, our coming generation can face life threatening problems.” After retiring from the Education Department I kept on pondering over what to do in this old age, he recalls. “I got an idea of doing something better for the cause of humanity by improving the environment of the city”, Misal Shah said while watering saplings at his nursery. “I have made a mission of my life to improve the environment of the city and to create awareness amongst the masses about the importance of green cover”, said Pir Misal Shah. He said he has spent the majority of his pension on growing plants in the nursery and free distribution of it. Misal Khan has also developed a garden at an unattended land reserved for green belt near main Grand Trunk (GT) road. The greenery in the premises of his nursery also attracts local people who visit and sit there for refreshment and enjoying colors of flowers. People belonging to other cities also come to our nursery and get plants of their liking, he claimed. To a question about keeping a counter check on collectors of free saplings, Misal Shah said it depends on them to fulfill the pledge they made with him.He said sometimes he get reports that plants collected from his nursery are sold in the market which hurts him. “I am not doing business at my nursery other than why people sell the plants they get free from me,” he questioned. However, he continued, such avaricious characters cannot deter his resolve and he will continue to distribute plants free of cost for achievement of his goal. Misal Shah also wrote a book for creating awareness about the dangers of environmental degradation and air pollution on human health. “I got a lot of plants from the nursery of Pir Misal and planted them at home and my neighbourhood,” said Khan Wali, a young boy who resides in Peshawar. Khan Wali told the news agency that Misal Shah has inspired him and his peers through this unique work at such an old age. “I want to replicate the mission of Misal Khan by planting trees in a wide area and breathing our city whose air is polluted at alarming level and damaging the health of its dweller”, Wali expresses his resolve. “The mission started by Misal Khan is highly praiseworthy and needs emulation by every sensible citizen for ensuring purity of the air we breathe,” observed Dr. Adil Zareef, Spokesman of Peshawar Clean Air Alliance (PCAA), a volunteer association of civil society individual formed to find ways and measures to tackle toxic emission that pose a direct threat to health and contribute to climate change. “Peshawar is one of the largest cities in Pakistan with an estimated population (2017) of approximately 1.9 million and according to Pakistan Air Quality Initiative is fifth most polluted city in the country with over 183 unhealthy air quality days,” Dr. Adil said. The initiative taken by Misal Khan reflects the fact that people are getting awareness about increasing degradation of the environment and are taking actions even at individual level to resolve the problem and ensure safety to public health, Adil added. He urged government and civil society to acknowledge the contribution of Misal Shah for encouragement and for spreading the message that everyone has to play his or her role in combating the serious problem of environmental degradation.