As part of the Rung Do Pakistan campaign, WWF-Pakistan and Careem launched mangrove plantation drive at Sandspit on Friday. Under this initiative, 180,000 saplings will be planted in the coastal belt of Pakistan. This initiative will not only help restore the lost mangroves forest cover but will also build resilience of the local communities to tackle climate change and other natural disasters particularly soil erosion and coastal flooding in the area. This campaign is aimed to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change, regulate water cycles and increase green cover across the country. During the event, a total of 300 saplings were planted at the Sandspit.
Rung Do Pakistan campaign is joint initiative of WWF-Pakistan, Careem and other partners who pledge to plant a total of 1.4 million trees across country by August 2019 through active participation of different stakeholders, local communities and passionate individuals. Careem has contributed in the campaign by raising funds through Rung Do Pakistan car type in its app. Passionate citizens contributed very generously for the cause.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Babar Khan, Regional Head Sindh and Balochistan WWF-Pakistan said that Pakistan is recognized to have the 7th largest mangrove forests in the world. These are one of the primary features of coastal ecosystems and are widely spread across the coast of Pakistan. The majority of mangroves forests are found in the Indus Delta, a region categorized as one of the most productive Global 200 Ecoregions of the world. He also shared that mangroves are the first line of defence against cyclones, strong surges, tsunami and other natural calamities impacting the coastal areas of Pakistan. They are critically important because of their role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, community livelihoods, and food security. ‘We consider them as jewels of the coastline as they enhance its aesthetic value and appeal to a diverse species of birds’, 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.
It may be noted that around 0.2 million people directly rely on the services provided by mangrove forests in Pakistan. The mangrove ecosystem is very productive and provides shelter and nursing ground for different fish species as well as other fauna of the area. Presently, mangroves face multiple threats such as environmental degradation, ruthless cutting and dumping of sewage waste water. The reduced freshwater flow in the Indus delta and other mangrove forest areas is leading to decline in productivity and nourishment of their habitats leading to death of the plants. Therefore, to address these issues, the WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with other partners has initiated awareness raising campaign on the importance and conservation of mangrove forests by involving government agencies, corporates, local fisher communities and media.