Thousands indigenous trees planted during ‘Ashar’ tree plantation drive

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ZHOB (By Rafiullah Mandokhail/ENNS) In order to fight climate change and environmental pollution, a group of youth in Balochistan – home to vast barren land and deforested arid mountains – has initiated a unique tree plantation drive and planted thousands of indigenous trees in different parts of the province. According to environmentalists, at least 25% of forest is a must for a region’s forest cover but this percentage has been decreased to only 1.1% in Balochistan due to deforestation in the province.

In a bid to prevent deforestation and highlight the importance of tree plantation, a group of youth led by Salmeen Khpalwak has started the plantation drive in different districts of Balochistan.

 The campaign is called ‘Ashar’ in which trees are being planted in different areas including educational institutions, government offices, isolated places and along the national highways.

Salmeen Khpalwak, a lawyer by profession says, “Ashar is one of the socio-cultural attributes of Pashtoons code of life. The campaign is aimed at carrying out the collective work voluntarily,” adding, in the past, the people used to harvest wheat crop together and construct collapsed houses in rural areas.

“A green Balochistan guarantees a prosperous future for the coming generations,” he appeals the people from different walks of life to join hands together and plant as many trees as possible.

According to Khpalwak, the youngsters at educational institutions were mobilized and motivated to take part in Ashar. Thirty thousand trees in Sherani district, eighteen thousand in Zhob, five thousand in Loralai, Khanozai, Muslim Bagh and Killa Saifullah district have been planted so for.

“The youth left no stone unturned to meet the ambitious target of planting thousands of indigenous trees. A nursery will also be set up, where 50,000 olive trees will be planted,” he vows.

“Once their was a dense olive forest between Koh-e-Sulaiman and Killa Saifullah, but due to the increased population and negligence on the part of people, the forest in this area has now become extinct. The number of trees in the entire region has been decreased to an alarming level,” he laments.

“It is our responsibility to make the country green and the tree plantation campaign in every nook and corner of the country will help to combat the climate change,” Khpalwak hopes.

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