HUNZA: With the objective to preserve the environment and reduce the impact of climate change, the Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods project (GLOF-II) conducted a Volunteer Plantation Drive today with collaboration of Karakoram International University – named ‘Adopt a Tree Campaign’- followed by a Glacier Cleaning Campaign at the Borith Zero Point.
GLOF-II is a joint initiative of the Green Climate Fund, the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Pakistan.
The plantation drive at the KIU campus was inaugurated by Mr. Malik Amin Aslam, Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change on 23 August 2019 in Gilgit. This followed launch of a full-fledged campaign attended by local community, women, youth and students in Ghulkin, Hunza. Over 500 trees were planted on the said date as a baseline to the target set under the project.
In the ‘Adopt a Tree Campaign’, students and volunteers joined hands to plant trees to foster a culture of responsibility towards nature and its conservation. The project has a significant component for slope stabilization to prevent the impacts of GLOFs. The aim is to achieve results by active community participation especially youth of the region. Over 100 volunteers and students have been taken on board by GLOF II project which will closely monitor the activities and evaluate the results achieved; for each tree that survives and is in good condition, students will be granted grace marks. This will inculcate healthy competition amongst students and benefit the community likewise.
The Advisor said that trees and plants are the prime source of environmental purification and beautification. Pakistan is amongst the top most vulnerable country to Climate Change impacts; the loss of trees is intensifying the temperature, polluting the atmosphere and worsening lives of living beings so together, we will make efforts to reverse the ills of Climate Change by persistently planting trees for the next four years”. He mentioned the success of the “billion-tree tsunami” now expanded to “10 billion tree tsunami” campaign and emphasized the importance of planting trees and increasing the country’s forest reserves. He reiterated how this initiative has made Pakistan into being termed as a Champion in fighting climate change. He acknowledged and appreciated GLOF II project contribution by carrying out plantations to stabilize slopes and aid in preventing landslides and floods. He directed GLOF II project to take ownership of Adopt a Tree initiative and link this to the ecotourism potential of the country. He advised that in order to promote ecotourism, all national and international tourists be made part of the campaign by contributing $5 per person as a sustainability tool for future conservation.
The glacial cleaning campaign was also launched by the Advisor in Gojal, Upper Hunza from the junction point of the three major glaciers, Ghulkin, Hussaini and Passu. A total of 3 expeditions comprising of 10 males and 10 females each left for collecting waste from the glaciers ensuring 50% women participation. In the 3 adjacent villages over 600 volunteers, all community members also took part in the campaign. The advisor appreciated this effort and accentuated how taking care of these glacial hubs will benefit not only the local communities but the people living downstream as well.
Both campaigns are in line with Government of Pakistan’s Clean and Green Pakistan program, to address the adverse impacts of climate change and make Pakistan more resilient to the impacts.