10 Million Trees to be Planted to Restore Margalla Hills’ Green Cover

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to plant 10 million trees in the Margalla Hills at a cost of more than Rs. 2 billion, reported a national daily.

According to details, the civic authority has prepared a PC-1 for the project aimed at enhancing the biodiversity and green cover in Margalla Hills.

The CDA is currently in the process of submitting the PC-I to the federal government to procure funding in the upcoming fiscal year 2024-25 through the public sector development program. The estimated cost for the project stands at Rs. 2,158.614 million.

The PC-I for the project titled “Enhancing the biodiversity and green cover by managing the natural resources, maintenance and rehabilitation of the landscape of Margalla Hills National Park” has been drafted by the environment wing of the CDA. Reportedly, it will be implemented over a period of five years.

As per the PC-1, the primary objective of the project is to enhance the flora and fauna of the national park while preserving it to attract both the public and tourists.

Furthermore, it will contribute to the mitigation of climate change and enhance the aesthetics of the national park.

“Being home to a variety of flora and fauna, this national park not only provides recreation and research opportunities but also plays a vital role in maintaining the environment of the capital… The proximity to the capital has further increased the government in protecting and improving the soil, flora and fauna of the national park,” reads the document.

“High birth rate and shifting of settlements from other corners of the country, Islamabad city is rapidly losing the green cover due to construction activities and facing various other environmental issues: one is depleting groundwater,” the PC-I document reads.

The PC-I states that the park is currently affected by two invasive species, lantana and paper mulberry, covering 7,150 acres of land, which are impeding the growth of local species.

The mountains serve as a watershed and a primary source of fresh water. However, due to insufficient green cover, a significant amount of water is wasted through high run-off.

According to the PC-I, priority will be given to local species like ‘chir pine’, ‘amaltas’, and ‘kachnar’, with plans to hire guards for tree protection as well.

The CDA also intends to construct check dams and water ponds within the park as part of its plan.

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