In an effort to offset climate change, Pakistan has pledged to plant 10 billion trees in the span of the next five years! The country, one of the six nations most affected by climate change, plans to restore much of its forest ecosystems, which play a major role in mitigating the changes in the earth’s climate and contribute to the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air.

Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan has campaigned on a number of environmental initiatives that would help the country on its way to sustainability, Green Matters reports. Between 2014 and 2017, Pakistan completed Khan’s Billion Tree Tsunami project, planting an impressive 350,000 hectares of trees.

“If you plant trees, we have discovered, by the river banks it sustains the rivers,” Khan told Voice of America. “But most importantly, the glaciers that are melting in the mountains, and one of the biggest reasons is because there has been a massive deforestation.”

Malik Amin Aslam, a politician set to be the country’s Environment Minister, said that the program would spread to see trees planted throughout the entire nation, including the four provincial capitals. The aim of the project is to restore forests that have been destroyed due to the devastating effects of climate change.

“Pakistan’s green cover is going down. Our cities have become concrete jungles and there is increasing air pollution. Our mode of development is wrong,” Aslam said.

Currently, Pakistan has just 2.2 percent of total forest cover, according to Pakistan Today. As stated by the United Nations, countries must have a forest cover of at least 25 percent of their total land, and cities must have a forest cover of 10 percent. Experts warn that Pakistan could run out of its forests in the next 50 years if deforestation continues at the same rate. As it is, Pakistan loses 42,000 hectares of its forests a year.

Planting trees is one of the easiest ways to battle climate change (despite the nonsensical ramblings you may have heard about how California should remove trees to combat forest fires). In 2018, India planted 66 million trees in just 12 hours, the aim of the planting marathon being reduction of the country’s carbon footprint. Also last year, China reassigned over 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in an effort to increase the country’s forest coverage and help tackle pollution. Projects like these are often indispensable to return important areas to a greener and much healthier state.

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