Islamabad: Pakistan has announced to integrate climate change education in Islamabad schools to better equip young people to prepare for future climate challenges.

More than 400 schools across the capital city will be part of the first group to introduce education on climate change and other environmental issues. “Over 900 schoolteachers and 6,000 students have been trained on clean, green and hygienic practices,” stated Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam. The idea behind the initiative is to prepare the citizens of the future for climate emergency.

“Clean and green clubs have been set up at nearly 400 schools in Islamabad where 10,000 students have become ‘Clean and Green Champions’ by planting trees, maintaining cleanliness, properly managing solid waste,” he informed. The government has decided to engage schools due to its effective role in tackling climate challenges and encouraging change in the society.

The news was announced at a Clean Green School Programme launched at the Islamabad Model College for Girls in Sector F-6/2 on Thursday, organised by Ministry of Climate Change, the Federal Directorate of Education and WaterAid.

Under the climate school programme, about 100,000 students in government schools across Islamabad would receive training in these five areas: solid waste management, liquid treatment and hygiene, tree plantation, water conservation and sanitation. Activity-based and child-friendly syllabus on climate and environmental education would be part of the programme.

The programme is part of Clean Green Pakistan campaign launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2018. “We believe that schools are the most powerful catalyst for change in society which is why schools are the focus for climate awareness” says Mohammad Saleem, the climate change ministry spokesperson. “The government will replicate this across the country in the next phase,” the official said.

Environmentalists have welcomed the initiative that makes Pakistan the second country in the world to introduce climate change education after Italy. This is the first time that climate-focused programme for students at primary and secondary schools has been announced in a developing country. “Education is the key element to global response to climate change. Climate education and sustainable development must be taught in schools alongside math and physics so that our children know about the causes, consequences and can work on solutions” Mome Saleem, Islamabad-based environmentalist told Gulf News.

“It is essential for our children to learn about the impact of climate change and water scarcity,” said Nadeem Ahmed, manager advocacy at WaterAid Pakistan. “It is the right of every child to live a healthy life in a clean environment.”

Pakistan and climate change

Pakistan has been consistently ranked in climate change vulnerability index, facing heatwaves, droughts, flooding, glacier melting, water scarcity and air pollution among other serious challenges, despite being the lowest emitter of greenhouse gases.

What is Clean Green Pakistan campaign?

Clean Green Pakistan movement was launched in October 2018 by PM Imran Khan to tackle the challenges posed by climate change. The movement focuses on tree plantation, liquid and waste management, hygiene awareness, access to drinking water.

What measures has Pakistan taken for environmental awareness?

Pakistan is committed to combating climate change by introducing several measures, including planting 10 billion trees in 5 years, ban on single-use plastic bags, policy on electric vehicles, green buildings, proper waste management and clean drinking water.

In numbers

400 — schools are part of climate education programme

100,000 students — to be engaged

Students to get training in 5 areas:

1. Solid waste management

2. Liquid treatment and hygiene

3. Tree plantation

4. Water conservation

5. Sanitation.