ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister of State for Climate Change, Zartaj Gul, said on Friday that the prime minister had given his consent to the “Recharge-Pakistan” project which will ensure optimal use of flood waters to augment the depleted aquifer fast in the country.
In an exclusive interview with APP, she said the project was an innovative and well thought out initiative under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands to which Pakistan was a signatory for the conservation of its millions of acre feet of water. , thrown into the ocean every year.
Zartaj said the wetlands project was an inexpensive and easy-to-build option to ensure maximum storage capacity. It was the only way out to effectively recharge the aquifer (groundwater) which was rapidly depleting across the country due to uncontrolled drilling and pumping of water, she added.
“Groundwater has been depleted below 1200ft in Balochistan and the project includes setting up special wetland sites there. The project mainly involves the construction of wetlands on the banks of the Indus River, comprising areas of Sindh and Punjab.
The Minister of State said it would also help restore declining migratory species in the area, as well as boost the ecology.
She said the project had been forwarded to the Global Climate Fund (GCF) for formal approval to secure international funding.
She specifically mentioned that there were two ministry projects in the pipeline, including energy-efficient stoves and easy loans for the zigzag conversion of brick kilns to be granted by the State Bank of Pakistan or the Ehsaas program.
“The president of the Ehsaas program gave me a very warm response in this regard,” she added.
Poor brick kiln owners will benefit from a simple and useful financial facility to convert their kiln to the environment-friendly Zigzag technology,” said the Minister.
She said: “About 10,000 energy efficient stoves will be distributed in four districts of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Balochistan and other areas with no availability of natural gas for domestic use. These areas were seriously facing deforestation because people had no other means of fuel, she added.
In response to a question, she said the ministry’s plastic bag ban had received full support from the public, media and academia, while a training program in conjunction with a philanthropic foundation had was launched to train housewives to make eco-friendly bags. “The initiative was taken to promote green entrepreneurship in the
country, with a focus on empowering women.
In the next phase, she said transgender people would be trained to earn a decent livelihood by producing eco bags.
She referred to the BBC report claiming that 60% of Pakistanis were unaware of climate change as the Ministry of Climate Change in the first 15 months had raised public awareness on a large scale.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched 10 Billion Tsunami Trees, Clean Green Pakistan Behavior Change Movement and Clean Green Pakistan Index in 19 cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab,” she added.
She said that “the ban on plastic bags and the policy of electric vehicles have launched a new era of environmental revolution in the country to ensure a better future for future generations.”