Desertification

I went to Islamabad and Changla Gali last week. Although it was great to get away from Lahore, there were a few things that disturbed me. On the motorway, on my way to Islamabad, I saw that a vast amount of Punjab’s green fields had been stripped away to make room for concrete jungles. The whole motorway, in fact, was much less green than I remember it. Admittedly I haven’t been on it for years, but it was a huge shock.

Then, on my way to Changla Gali, I noticed that whole mountain – technically foothills, but taller than most mountains- have been stripped bare. There are no trees; they are completely and totally barren. All the pine trees have been cut down, for what I do not know, but it is shocking.

I remember the Muree hills as mountains that were lusciously green and beautiful. There are now also quite overcrowded. The house I was staying in was made after cutting down only 3 trees whereas many houses in the area, belonging to well known individuals, have been made after cutting down many, many trees and much destruction. The dark nights, which used to provide me with much solitude as a child, are not dark anymore- there is a lot of light from the numerous houses. I wanted to sit outside and gaze at the stars, and yes there were many more than one can see from Lahore, but it’s not as much fun as it used to be.

The trees need to be replanted. Those hills cannot remain barren. We cannot do this.

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4 thoughts on “Desertification

  1. I would see the same happen in Lahore as I was nearing my departure for the US. If you ask some people, they’ll tell you it’s to make way for new businesses/industries, to make Pakistan more modern, more attractive to foreign/local investment. What they don’t tell you is that fewer trees will lead to greater chances of severe rain-affected soil erosion, and a slight rise in the pollution levels of each of the areas involved. And as for being more attractive? It’s rather telling that in the West more and more local governments are trying to limit the toil taken on the environment, and are actually improving or increasing their own “green areas”. Even Singapore and Hong Kong are doing much the same.

    Here’s to more childhood asthma!

  2. Welcome to the “Modern World” 😦 The US did this to itself decades ago and is just now trying to deal with consequences. Pakistan may have it worse though; deforestation – especially of “the high ground” may be seen as prudent in order to deny militant groups cover in tactically advantageous position.

  3. I doubt that’s the reason why the trees have been cut down. They’re pine trees and their wood is exported. Basically they haven’t planted any new ones and the forestry department is sleeping.

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