We live in a world where consumerism, and capitalism is perpetually on the rise. Multi – national giants, massive industries have taken over, all driven by a single motive – the fancily embellished principle of self -interest. In a global context this selfish, and ruthlessly discriminating in nature, developing countries are bound to suffer the most. Such is the case of Pakistan.
Pollution levels worldwide are leaping up at an unimaginable rate, and Pakistan is no exception to this reality. 135,000 deaths/year are attributed to air pollution, making it the leading cause of sickness and death in the country; also resulting in a reported increase in lung tumor cases, ever since Lahore, an industrial hub, remains desolately shrouded in smog.
To battle this situation on the forefront, the Government of Pakistan, in collaboration with UNICEF, has pitched forth an excellent initiative, prioritizing long – term environmental sustainability in the country – a program called Clean Green Pakistan, that is to be launched on the 25th of November, 2019. The current government, led by PM Imran Khan, has already targeted a vital pulse of the larger ecosystem – tree plantation – with its “Billion Tree Tsunami” project that has till date restored an estimated figure of 350,000 hectares of forest, previously lost to natural disasters, contributing massively to the cause of international reforestation.
Clean Green Pakistan in itself, could play a pivotal role in re sculpting the future of the nation. The project will be implemented by relying on a Pakistan Clean Green Index (CGPI), that consists of 5 paramount pillars : Liquid Waste and Management, Tree Plantation, Solid Waste Management, Total Sanitation and Safe Drinking Water, measured by more than 35 performance indicators that will play a crucial role in building a safer, healthier Pakistan.
The main objective is to rank cities based on their cleanliness, greenery, and over all living conditions; while those rankings are to be derived from an overall sum of scores for each of the 5 pillars, yielding a final score that is then, to be translated into a ranking for the city. These rankings will be announced periodically, and a data set spanning the time frame of a bare minimum of 3 months will be compiled. Local city councils, and districts will all work in close collaboration for the cause, where several cities will engage in friendly competition, and empower themselves enough to rise to the required indicators, in order to secure a better ranking and recognition at both the provincial and federal levels. With the successful completion of the initial phase, lasting 6 months, other cities will then be added to the competition.
Currently, the participating cities include Kohat, Mardan, Abottabad, Dera Ismail Khan, Sarogdha, Bannu, Sahiwal, Bahalwapur, D G Khan, Lahore, Gujranwala, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Multan and Malakand. The indicators that have been set, will be used to assess the on – ground reality, and to what extent the program has seen true materialization and significant change.
Since the project envisions a people led movement in every sense – it aims to instill environmental awareness and resurrect a system based on virtue, where the people of Pakistan take an interest in the future of the country, and put in their efforts to stabilize it, at every cost, and is inclusive at every level. Hence, the Government also wishes to involve universities, colleges and schools, to mobilize the youth, through a sub – part, “Clean Green Champions”. Registration is available on website, and allows people to share any voluntary activities that they participate in, under the domain of the 5 pillars. Each action scores points, placing the “Champion”, into Gold, Silver, etc. categories.
Overall, a brilliant idea on part of the Government. Promoting healthy competition in this manner could truly reform mindsets and potentially create a well informed, aware nation that leaves a better future for the coming generations. Through their Champion program, the Government has reached out to people on a very personal level – a call the public will be sure to respond to. Let us all, in this manner, and through our collective efforts, leave our Motherland lush, green, and able to breathe, rather than squandering what is ours, and was conceived with the blood of our very own.