In September of 2018, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a 5-year initiative for the country to plant 10 billion trees, the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami campaign. It supplanted a smaller initiative Khan had spearheaded four years before in his home province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The previous initiative, which was called the Billion Tree Tsunami, was completed in August 2017, two years ahead of schedule, and restored 1351 square miles of forestland.

The first project cost approximately $169 million and employed thousands. Hundreds of private nurseries were tapped to support the project, each employing many locals in green jobs, including women and young people. An estimated 300,000 new jobs were created in the effort.

Pakistan is one of the most heavily deforested temperate countries in the world, with only between 2 and 5 percent of the country covered in forestland. For environmental health and air quality, the UN recommends countries maintain at least 12% of their land in forest cover.

The 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, also called Plant for Pakistan or P4P, got itself off to a running start, with over 1.5 million trees planted on September 2nd, 2018, its very first day. It was moving well until mid-March, when Pakistan went into a national quarantine to deal with COVID-19. But as infection numbers in the country decline, the government is re-launching the campaign with a bang. Tripling their personell numbers to over 63,000, the government is using it to employ day-laborers who have been hard-hit by the pandemic’s economic impact. Tree-planting will be moving forward in low-income areas, where the people who can benefit most from the work live. Others will also be hired to protect existing forests from fires and illegal logging.

“This tragic crisis provided an opportunity and we grabbed it,” said Malik Amin Aslam, climate change adviser to the Prime Minister. “Nurturing nature has come to the economic rescue of thousands of people.”

Source: Good News Network

Editorial credit: Salvacampillo /