Prime Minister Imran Khan picks up litter at the Islamabad Model College for Girls, where he launched the nationwide ‘Clean and Green Pakistan’ campaign. Image Credit: Online

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday reiterated his government’s resolve to plant 10 billion trees in the country to counter climate change and to “change the weather patterns.”

Water levels in Pakistan’s big cities has depleted to around 200 feet, said Khan, citing Lahore as an example. “Once, it used to be at 100 feet only. We need to keep it in check from going down further,” the premier said.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder-chairman shared these views after launching the ‘Clean & Green Pakistan’ campaign in a local school of Islamabad.

To mark the occasion, Khan not only planted a sapling but also cleaned the school premises as a symbolic gesture, to inspire the general public to involve themselves in similar environment-friendly endeavours.

He said that in the next five years, the country would be cleaner than Europe. “For this to happen, everyone among us would have to change his mind and take the cleanliness of his home and surroundings as his personal obligation,” Khan said.

Earlier, the cricketer-turned-politician also interacted with the students, discussing with them the global warming issues faced by the country. He urged the students, particularly the youth, to lead the campaign as it is connected with the future of the country.

Highlighting the contributions made by students in the construction of his Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, Khan said the country also requires their services to make Pakistan clean and green. Planting trees was imperative to protect the environment and check global warming.

Giving the example of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, Khan said the PTI government planted one billion trees in KP, a drive that was internationally recognised. The government was targeting to plant 10 billion trees across the country, the PM said, adding that “I am confident that through concerted efforts, we would be able to make it possible and prevent the deteriorating conditions from climate change and global warming.”

Under the cleanliness drive, the sewerage and sanitation system would be improved not only in cities, but also in slums and villages, he noted.

As part of the integrated solution, dumping sites for disposal of solid waste would be identified from village to Tehsil level. The leader also spoke about slums (katchi abadis) assuring that its residents would be given ownership rights.

The PTI government will soon launch a housing project for slum dwellers, so that they can have homes of their own, he said.