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Civil society to launch tree plantation drive in Swat – Newspaper

MINGORA: Civil society activists on Friday announced to launch a tree plantation drive across the Swat valley from August 14 with an aim to restore its ‘green glory’.

They made the decision at a meeting with officials of the district administration and the line departments chaired by deputy commissioner Saqib Raza Aslam.

They said the plantation drive would be initiated to minimise the effects of climate change, urging the general public fully participate in the effort.

“Every part of the valley was green during the times when Swat was a state and nobody could cut trees without seeking permission from the authorities. There were trees along both sides of the roads but slowly and gradually all these disappeared,” lamented activist Zafar Ali Kaka.

He pointed out that during the state rule nobody was allowed to cut a tree from even his personal land and could do so only after getting permission from the quarters concerned.

“The two streams running through the Mingora town had thick lines of trees on both sides, providing cool shade and healthy environment to people but all these trees were cut down,” Hazrat Maaz Advocate, a social worker in Saidu Sharif, regretted. He said the civil society activists would start planting trees along the streams from the Independence Day.

The civil society members said the large-scale cutting of trees had turned the weather of Mingora hot and polluted the environment.

“Recently the forest department cut many trees along Mingora-Saidu Sharif road,” he said, adding we will plant the trees along the road,” Asif Shehzad, another participant, said.

Attaullah Jan Advocate, another participant, said everybody should be involved in making the plantation drive a success.

On the occasion, deputy commissioner Raza Aslam assured the participants of full support to the plantation drive. He issued directives to the district forest officer to chalk out a comprehensive plan for the success of the campaign. He said tree plantation would also be included in the Swat beautification project.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2018

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