Besides the increasing death toll, the ongoing pandemic has also prompted a surge in the number of unemployed workers globally. Sure, relief packages and financial support from different government bodies may somehow help people get by for the time being. However, one can’t simply ignore the repercussions of not having a stable source of income during these trying times. So, a tree-planting program has been launched in Pakistan to help provide job opportunities to out-of-work labourers in the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently approved the “Green Stimulus Package.” This program aims to propagate plant nurseries and natural forests, as well as promote the country’s vast plantations. Under this program, the government will employ about 65,000 youth and daily-wage earners affected by the current crisis. Each worker will then get a chance to earn between 500 to 8,000 rupees (about $7 to $106) per day. Although this supplementary income only amounts to about half of their usual wages, it’s enough to help them get by.
Unemployed workers in Pakistan get a chance to work as tree planters and take part in saving the environment
Apparently, the program is part of the country’s ongoing “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” initiative launched by Khan in 2018. It’s a five-year tree-planting project that seeks to counter the adverse effects of climate change experienced in the country. These include floods, droughts, rising temperatures and other extreme weather conditions.
It’s worth noting that countries in South Asia are not among the major contributors to global greenhouse gases. However, based on Germanwatch’s Global Climate Risk Index 2020, Pakistan ranked fifth in the list of countries most affected by “extreme weather events” from 1999 to 2018. As such, this prompted the launch of the “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” campaign.
Bare rooted nursery at Upper Kohistan Forest division raised under #10BillionTreeTsunami #10BTTP @aminattock @IshtiaqUrmarPTI @anikasleem @ClimateChangePK pic.twitter.com/wOwaqCZI6u
— Ten Billion Tree Tsunami (@btap2015) May 8, 2020
The campaign is looking into planting 250 million trees for the afforestation efforts this spring
The campaign has been successfully ongoing until the enforcement of lockdown in the country on March 23rd. Unfortunately, the lockdown coupled with the strict implementation of social distancing measures has put a halt to the campaign’s operations. Thankfully, the prime minister has recently granted an exemption, allowing the country’s forestry agency to resume the campaign’s operations.
When you protect #Nature it always pays you back – #AssistedNaturalRegeneration of indigenous #Deodar covers the floor in #Chitral – under #10BillionTreeTsunami community based closures pic.twitter.com/ubnXzTWJ0Q
— Malik Amin Aslam (@aminattock) May 8, 2020
Climate change advisor to the prime minister Malik Amin Aslam also assured that the workers would still observe all government-mandated guidelines. These include wearing face masks at all times, as well as observing a six-feet distance among themselves. Feel free to follow #Plant4Pakistan on various social media sites to learn more about this tree-planting project.