KARACHI: As part of the Rung Do Pakistan campaign, the WWF-Pakistan and the Careem launched a mangrove plantation drive at Sandspit on Friday. Under this initiative, 180,000 saplings will be planted in the coastal belt of Pakistan.
The initiative will not only help restore the lost mangrove forest cover but will also build resilience of the local communities to tackle the climate change and other natural disasters, particularly soil erosion and coastal flooding in the area. This campaign aims to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change, regulate water cycles and increase green cover across the country.
On Friday, a total of 300 saplings were planted at the Sandspit. The Rung Do Pakistan campaign is a joint initiative of the WWF-Pakistan, Careem and other partners to plant 1.4 million trees across the country by August 2019 through active participation of different stakeholders, local communities and passionate individuals. Careem has contributed to the campaign by raising funds by typing Rung Do Pakistan on its app. The passionate citizens contributed generously for the cause.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Babar Khan, Regional Head Sindh and Balochistan WWF-Pakistan said Pakistan is recognised as having the 7th largest mangrove forest in the world. The mangroves are one of the primary features of coastal ecosystems and are widely spread across the coast of Pakistan. The majority of mangrove forests are found in the Indus Delta, a region categorized as one of the most productive Global 200 Ecoregions of the world.
Babar maintained that mangroves are the first line of defence against cyclones, strong surges, tsunami and other natural calamities impacting the coastal areas. They are critically important because of their role in climate change mitigation, community livelihoods, and food security. “We consider mangroves as jewels of the coastline as they enhance its aesthetic value and appeal to a diverse species of birds and fishes,” he added.
“The annual deforestation rate of Pakistan is 1.63%. We owe it to our country to give back what we’ve taken. Careem aspires to help the community achieve self-sustenance and growth and plantation takes us one step closer to our goal. Careem cares about the environment and looks to partner with organizations across the country to help spread awareness and make whatever difference it can for its community,” said Junaid Iqbal, Managing Director, Careem Pakistan.
The mangrove ecosystem provides shelter and is a nursing ground for different fish species and other fauna. Presently, mangroves face multiple threats such as environmental degradation, ruthless cutting and dumping of sewage waste. The reduced freshwater flow in the Indus Delta and other mangrove forest areas is also leading to a decline in productivity and nourishment of their habitat leading to death of the plants.