Prime Minister Imran Khan is addressing the clean green encouragement award ceremony in Islamabad and has praised the Ministry of Climate Change for hosting it.

The prime minister lamented how Pakistan’s various cities such as Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi used to be “clean” but were now suffering from pollution. 

“People used to drink Peshawar’s water as if it was mineral water,” he said. 

Speaking about Karachi, he said that trash and garbage could be found scattered on the metropolis’ streets. “Sewerage is being disposed of in the sea, causing hurdles for fishermen.”

In Lahore, nearly 70% of the green cover has been finished, the premier said, adding that the as a result, the pollution in Punjab’s capital had increased.

“In October, November, and December, the pollution levels increase to such an extent that they cause harm to the people’s health in Lahore,” he said.

The premier, highlighting his government’s policies during the coronavirus pandemic, said that the World Health Organisation has praised Pakistan’s COVID-19 strategy.

“Pakistan not only saved its people, but we also saved the economy,” he said.

However, the prime minister said that he feared a second coronavirus spike in cities such as Faisalabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, and Gujranwala, where the pollution levels go up during the winter. 

PM Imran Khan said that “this is the time” that the government and people join hands to save the future of the country and kick start plantation.

“We have destroyed our forests, and our next generation will have to pay the price for it,” he said.

Talking about the government’s measures for reforestation, he said: “Our first step — which is ambitious — is to plant 10 billion trees. The second is to clean our cities and generate electricity through solid waste.”

PM Imran Khan had launched the Clean Green Pakistan Index to start a healthy cleanliness competition among 19 cities across the country on November 15 last year.

The initiative aimed at improving the overall outlook of Pakistani cities by kicking off competition amongst them on various indicators.