PESHAWAR -- The Pakistani government has launched a new cleanliness campaign across the country called the 'Clean Green Pakistan.'
Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the campaign Monday (October 8) during a ceremony in the capital.
"The campaign is divided into four parts. All the chief ministers, governors, ministers and others will fully participate in the campaign," he said while addressing the ceremony of Clean Green Pakistan in Islamabad.
Federal Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and the chief ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab, Mahmood Khan and Sardar Usman Buzdar, respectively, were also present at the ceremony.
Khan said the campaign is meant to reduce pollution and to provide a clean and green country to future generations.
"Cleanliness will [also] be made a part of the syllabus in grades 1 to 5 [in schools]," said Khan, adding that the campaign has already begun in schools in Islamabad.
Officials will identify trash dumping sites from village to tehsil level, and tehsils that perform well during the cleanliness campaign will receive a reward every two months, he said.
"The government will start waste-to-energy projects around the dumping sites to create electricity from the solid waste," according to Khan. He added that volunteers would help the government monitor improvement made on the ground during the campaign.
Only about 42% of Pakistanis have access to toilets now but the government will ensure that every residence has one in the next five years, he vowed, adding that the widespread lack of toilets has discouraged tourism.
"All government and non-governmental organisations [NGOs] should play their role in making Pakistan clean and green by ending pollution and planting more trees," Khan told the audience.
"[Imran Khan's] government is committed to making Pakistan a green country free of pollution," said Aslam, the federal minister for climate change. Aslam said the government would take unprecedented measures during the coming months to ensure a clean and green Pakistan with the public support.
Encouraged by the campaign, Pakistanis across the country appreciated the drive and vowed to play their role in making the 'Clean Green Pakistan' a success.
"We will engage the youth and other [segments of the] population to plant more trees, keep their neighbourhoods clean and ensure no waste is thrown on the streets and roads," Malik Nazir, a village council nazim in Peshawar, told Pakistan Forward.
This is the first time in Pakistan that a prime minister has launched such a cleanliness campaign has been launched at a national level, according to Nazir. "This will help us get a greener and cleaner Pakistan in [the] coming years."
As the campaign kicked off, a large number of students participated in the drive to clean parks, streets and other places.
Imran Hamid Sheikh, the deputy commissioner of Peshawar, led a cleaning campaign in Bagh-e-Naran Park along with schoolchildren and other volunteers. The group collected trash, papers and other litter from the spacious park in the Hayatabad neighbourhood.
"The Clean Green Pakistan campaign has kicked off in 20 spots in Peshawar," Commissioner Peshawar Shahab Ali Shah told Pakistan Forward.
The public can send pictures of places that need attention to a WhatsApp number (03365811119) of the district administration, he said. "The public and the government can together make this campaign a success."
"Green Clean Pakistan. Finally, a govt owns [to a] long-neglected but [a] very critical issue that effects [sic] the daily lives of all Pakistanis," tweeted Islamabad journalist Nasim Zehra.
In another tweet, Mooed Pirzada, an Isalmabad TV anchor and commentator, said, "Amazing initiative by the government of PM Imran Khan. It was much needed. Let's first turn Islamabad as its administrative model. Let's stop sewage dumping into small streams."
Last week, the KP government began its activities as part of the cleaning drive in the province.
"A task force comprising 14 members, including provincial ministers and administrative secretaries, has been constituted for the purpose," Shahram Khan Tarakai, the provincial minister of Local Government, Elections and Rural Development, who heads the Task Force, told the media October 2.
The task force will help develop a strategy for the safe disposal of wastes, including that of industries, hospital and agriculture, to avoid contamination of the environment as well as of ground water, he said.
The task force will observe cleanliness days, weeks and months and involve the NGOs and the public in the drive against pollution, Tarakai said.