KP’s Billion Tree Tsunami project ‘not so green’

  • Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department reveals that only 221.4 mln trees have been planted in 20 out of 26 districts
  • KP government claims to have planted 1.18 billion trees during past four years

PESHAWAR – Questions are being raised over the transparency of the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s green initiative – Billion Tree Tsunami project – following shocking disclosures by the provincial Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department.

While the KP government claims to have planted 1.18 billion trees during the past four years, the official data presented in the KP Assembly on Tuesday reveals that only 221,434,085 (221.4 million) trees have so far been planted in 20 out of 26 districts.

Previously, the project’s cost had been estimated at Rs22 billion, however, the then adviser to Chief Minister on Forestry and Environment Ishtiaq Urmar claimed to have completed the project at the cost of Rs12 billion. Keeping in view his performance, CM Pervaiz Khatak also promoted him as a minister.

According to the statistics given by Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department, as many as 6,305,133 (6.305 million) trees were planted in Mardan division; 82,769,908 (82.7m) in Hazara division; 8,422,861 (8.42m) in Kohat division; 11,661,063 (11.66m) in Dera Ismail Khan; 462,895 in Tank; 111,812,225 (111.81m) in Malakand forest region; and 5,864,775 (5.86m) trees have been planted in Kalam.

Moreover, 10,256,825 (10.25m) trees were planted in Shangla; 9,600,000 (9.6m) in Bunair; 26,673,897 (26.673m) in Malakand; 21,431,646 (21.431m) in Lower Dir; 14,331,384 (14.331m) in Upper Dir; 5,438,011 (5.438m) in Kohistan; and 6,932,187 (6.932m) have been planted in Chitral.

However, the documents presented in the KP assembly do not include details regarding the provincial capital Peshawar, Nowsehra, Charsadda, Bannu and Laki Marwat.

In 2014, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan launched the project to reduce the effects of global warming in Pakistan which is among the top ten countries most likely to be affected by the phenomenon.

This year in August, the provincial government announced to accomplish the project before the deadline, December 2017.