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Pakistan cardinal leads 'Green Pakistan' campaign

Church and secular organizations back tree planting to protect the environment

ucanews.com reporter, Karachi

ucanews.com reporter, Karachi

Published: August 14, 2018 04:32 AM GMT

Updated: August 23, 2018 04:40 AM GMT

Pakistan cardinal leads 'Green Pakistan' campaign

launches the "Plant for Pakistan" campaign at Karachi's St. Patrick's Cathedral. (Photo by Ayaz Gulzar/ucanews.com)

Pakistan's Cardinal Joseph Coutts planted a tree at Karachi's St. Patrick's Cathedral to kick off a "Plant for Pakistan" campaign led by the Catholic Church in the port city.

"Trees play an important role in our lives," Cardinal Coutts told some 200 people attending the event on Sunday.

He added that unwarranted tree cutting caused environmental degradation, including of the atmosphere.

Cardinal Coutts also expressed appreciation for support for the tree-planting campaign from other organizations such as the Catholic welfare agency Caritas Pakistan. 

And he called for the planting of more trees around people's homes as well as at the cathedral. "Our country is facing a shortage of water and it will lead us to trouble," Cardinal Coutts said.

He partly attributed a lack of adequate rain for the past 11 months to changes in climate linked to the clearing of trees in both rural and urban areas.

Mansha Noor, executive secretary of Caritas Karachi, told ucanews.com that personnel at both private and government office complexes in recent months worked to plant as many trees as possible in order to combat Karachi's ongoing heat wave.

He said Caritas Karachi had planted more than 30,000 trees so far this year. Tree plantings also took place at various schools, universities and churches.

The tree planting campaign was launched by Cardinal Coutts in 2016 and is scheduled to continue until December 2019.

Noor said the goal of Caritas Pakistan is to plant more than 1.5 million trees in Karachi city and 10 million in Pakistan.

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In Hyderabad Diocese in the nation's south, a team of Columban missioners planted about 700 trees, including some at schools.

Catechist Shoukat Shahzad has been leading the campaign to plant trees in Badin city of adjacent Sindh province. He urged families living near to where trees have been planted to take care of them, including through regular watering.

"It is essential to plant trees for our good health and a clean environment," he said. "This will also keep the weather and climate stable for our survival."

The target is to plant 1,000 trees between June and the end of August, Shahzad added.

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