Development in Lahore Deteriorating the Environment



For a nature lover, nothing can be more painful than seeing the fully-grown trees being slashed in the name of urban development and lying on the road. Certainly, it is a ruthless step of cutting indigenous trees for improving road infrastructure and developing housing schemes seeing the ever-increasing number of vehicles on roads and excessive emissions deteriorating the environment. And not just the vehicles, but the poisonous emissions from industries and asphalt and concrete structures are destroying environment in major cities in general and Lahore in particular.

When it comes to Lahore, the cutting of trees for development of metropolitan and new plantation is going side by side but it is not making any significant impact as exotic species are gradually replacing the indigenous plants, carbon-sequestering biomass. It is observed that developers and contractors are removing the trees in first hand even those that do not hinder the construction. And after that, the new roads are bordered with exotic plantation.

Environmentalists state that these plants are not ornaments and higher officials must understand that these trees sequester atmospheric carbon to control global warming. And whenever a mature tree is extracted, it is mostly replaced by an exotic plant or shrub. However, you must remember that fully grown trees can hold more carbon and clean environment unlike exotic plants and shrubs.

Intensive plantation of shady indigenous trees and not exotic ornamental plants should be the plan of all officials at helms. Moreover, the government should focus on providing efficient and respectable public transport in order to discourage the abundance of private vehicles on roads. Officials should also enforce all environmental laws to stop people degrading environment.

Tree cutting is an issue and departments are cutting trees for the development of city, while the rest are planting new trees. At one side, Departments like Housing and LDA need to remove trees for developing housing societies and widening of roads. Forest Department and PHA are tasked to plant trees. However, it is a pity that there is no law to check cutting of trees except close to border or in cantonment areas. There should be a balance between development and conservation.