Nineteen cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab will compete to be the cleanest and greenest over the next six months.
“Some 30 to 35 years ago, Lahore was a clean city,” said Prime Minister Imran Khan at the launch in Islamabad Monday. “Today, you can’t even breathe in it.”
The cities will be put on a Clean and Green Index. They will be measured for five things: clean drinking water, safe sanitation, solid waste management, hygiene and trees.
Each indicator will be worth a total of 20 marks. The index will be the first barometer in Pakistan of how green a city is.
Anyone can volunteer and register with their CNIC on the programme’s website: TK. The prime minister said that Lahore is one of the world’s top three most-polluted cities because of its receding green cover. “In the last 10 years, 70% of trees in Lahore have been cut, which means that 70% of the city’s green cover has been reduced,” he said. “The repercussions now are irreversible because trees clean the air. When you cut trees, convert everything into concrete and don’t think about the future, the effect is inevitable.”
The prime minister disapproved of contaminating rivers by dumping waste in them. “The Ravi has become a sewerage dump. During winter, when water levels are low, only sewerage can be seen in it,” he said. “When this sewerage flows down the rivers, it goes into fields and underground and contaminates [the water table].”
He added that no one from the government had ever thought about stopping this.
“The city’s environment poses a threat to the lives of children and the aged. Its pollution has risen to levels that fuel lung cancer.”
It is important that the nation fights against what is destroying it, he said. “I want to tell my students that there are two points of views in life: religious and materialistic,” he said. “The materialistic side is the most toxic for the world. It includes greed, which has damaged Earth.”
He assured that the government will keep allotting money to the index. “Through the competition, empowerment will be given to people from villages and rural areas to decide their future themselves,” the premier said. “Everyone will be a part of this campaign.”