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Cricket-star turned politician Imran Khan launched the green initiative in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw after vast areas ravaged by floods and widespread felling
A province in Pakistan has planted a billion trees in just two years as part of an effort to restore forests wiped out by decades of felling and natural disasters such as floods.
Cricket-star turned politician Imran Khan, who heads the political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), launched the green mission in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw in the north-west of the country.
The project – dubbed Billion Tree Tsunami – aims to slow down the effects of global warming in Pakistan which ranks in the Top 10 in a list of countries most likely to be affected by the phenomenon.
And the effort in the province, which lies in the Hindu Kush mountain range, has surpassed an international commitment after it restored 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land.
The work in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw was focussed along the area beside the Gambila River, in the Bannu District, where vast swathes of forest were wiped out in the past after its banks broke.
The Billion Tree Tsunami was completed this month ahead of the deadline set for December 2017 and is expected to be extended across Pakistan.
It comes after decades of tree felling have reduced the country’s forests to less than 3 per cent of its land area. About 40 per cent of the remaining forests are in the north-western province.
Mr Khan said: “If you plant trees, we have discovered, by the river banks it sustains the rivers. 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. So, this billion tree is very significant for our future.”
The PTI party head launched the green project in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw as part of an international goal that calls for the global restoration of 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature set up the Bonn Challenge in 2011 and more than 20 countries have so far signed up to the commitment.
The organisation congratulated Mr Khan on reaching a “momentous milestone”.
A statement read: “This marks the first Bonn Challenge pledge to reach its restoration goal.”
Source: independent.co.uk

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