Pakistan is working to help laborers who have lost their jobs amid the pandemic. The country hired more than 63,000 people to help plant billions of trees.
The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics has revealed up to 19 million people could be laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new tree-planting initiative is part of the country’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami program. The prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan founded the five-year project in 2018. It aims to help reduce rising temperatures and the risk of natural disasters like floods and droughts caused by climate change.
Pakistan went on lockdown on March 23. However, Khan exempted the laborers, allowing them to plant trees for the program. All workers must wear masks and maintain social distancing.
“This tragic crisis provided an opportunity and we grabbed it,” Malik Amin Aslam, climate change advisor to the prime minister, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Nurturing nature has come to the economic rescue of thousands of people.”
According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, Pakistan ranks number five on a list of countries most heavily impacted by global warming over the past 20 years.
“The tree density of Pakistan is less than neighboring China, India, [and] Iran. Trees per square kilometer are less than India [and] China. Trees per person are also less than India, China, and Iran,” Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf party wrote in a tweet.
Countries Go Green During The Pandemic
Numerous countries have launched green initiatives to help promote a healthier environment amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
A number of countries now support incorporating the European Green Deal into post-coronavirus recovery initiatives. Countries include Germany, Ireland, Slovenia, France, and Greece. The European Green Deal aims to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050.
Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said governments should keep climate protection in mind when outlining fiscal stimulus packages aimed at supporting the economy during the pandemic. Austria closed its last coal plant last month after the country committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable sources of energy.
Some of the world’s most polluted cities have seen major reductions in particulate matter. Studies show air pollution levels have declined by up to 60 percent compared to last year. Social distancing and lockdown measures are being credited for the reduction in air pollutants.