Mass Plantation of Conocarpus in Karachi

 Abstract

This paper explains the campaign conducted to mitigate the further growth and plantation of Conocarpus because this plant was planted on very large scale in Karachi city in past. Karachi is basically a thickly populated city of Pakistan with population of about 16.62 million as estimated in 2016. Due to heavy population and many other factors its temperature is increasing day by day. For the purpose of bringing down its temperature a campaign was conducted in 2008 to start plantation in Karachi in order to bring down the level of heat waves in the city due to heat of summer season.

A heavy budget of 8.34 billion was estimated to carry out this project. It was decided to bring different variety of plants to plant here. But later on only one plant was imported from Ethiopia namely Conocarpus Erectus. Later on it was observed that this alien species is not suitable for our ecosystem.

Conocarpus has low potential of carbon sequestration. It disturbs the water cycle and force out native species.

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Birds do not maintain their nests on these trees. It also has low ability to absorbs heat and suck too much water from the depths of earth and damages water and sewerage lines. Pakistani PM Imran Khan has started a campaign namely “Plant 4 Pakistan”. In this condition my objective is to run a campaign to educate people to stop further plantation of these mangroves. If they are going to participate in this campaign then they should be aware of to not plant any more Conocarpus, instead they should choose eco friendly plants.

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These plants should be removed swiftly from our city but it also requires high plantation of other native plants. People, through this campaign would be able to understand the disasters Conocarpus bring with them, hence their growth and further plantation would be mitigated.

This campaign has the objective to make people aware about the detrimental this plant brings with it. Though it’s a difficult task to remove this tree from the city but it’s very important to save our city from any tragedy that may occur as a consequence of increase in the growth of this plant. This campaign is conducted in different areas of Karachi and especially youth is targeted for this awareness. Different schools, colleges, universities and other institutes were selected to run this promotional activity. This will help people to make their participation in stopping the further plantation of these mangroves and contribute in making their sweet city beautiful and safe from dangerous heat waves which contribute in the death of many citizens every year from 2015.

Introduction

With the industrial revolution environmental pollution has increased which damaged the ozone layer allowing the sun waves to reach directly to the earth. This has increased the global warming over recent years. With the increasing global warming Pakistan is also suffered from this unpleasant fact. With every passing year temperature goes higher and higher which is an alarming condition for Pakistani population. There are also different factors involved in the continuous increasing temperature of Pakistan.

Experts claimed that this increased temperature is mostly the consequence of deforestation, urbanization & construction of superhighways of asphalt. The average temperature of the world has also been increased in recent 100 years which is contributing to the extreme weather conditions.

If we consider Karachi in the affects of increased temperature, it is also seriously affected by the global warming. This situation has seriously increased since June 2015 when a severe heat wave of about 49°C struck Sothern Pakistan and about 2000 people died as a result of dehydration and heat stroke [1] and this cycle continued and every year number of people dies due to heat waves.

In this serious condition experts have presented various ways to overthrow the impact of heat waves. However the most suitable and natural way to cope with this situation was the idea of Plantation. This step is adopted in different countries of the world so it was widely appreciated.

A few decades ago eucalyptus trees were planted abundantly in Karachi to minimize the increasing temperature. However later on it was observed that this plant’s roots suck the water more rapidly than other species. It can even damage road infrastructure, pavements, pipelines and also nearby buildings. This is the reason it is banned in Arab countries including Qatar, UAE and Kuwait. After the acknowledgement of this mistake these trees were cut down in the city. However another similar mistake was committed in 2008 when a project for aesthetic plantation and landscaping was started.[3]

The ex- City District Government Karachi (CDGK), in its greener Karachi project, namely “Forestation, Aesthetic Plantation and Landscaping Study-Karachi Comprehensive Plan”, prepared by previous Conservator, Sindh Forest Department, in October 2008 prepared proposals valued an estimated Rs8.34 billion for this project.

Three aspects were planned to be covered under the KCP including forestation, aesthetic-plantation and landscaping; in order to beautify the city, increase tree cover, apply modern landscaping techniques, encourage farm and social forestry in and around city to check green house effect, minimize threats to ecological integrity through carbon sequestration and improve bio-geochemical processes.

The official documents, which this scribe acquired from the officials of the former CDGK, reveal that under the KCP more than a dozens species of different indigenous trees and shrubs were selected for plantation.

The city government had planned to plant a variety of trees in the city, which include Plaksa tree (Pipal), Banyan, Coconut, Margosa (Neem) Tree and tropical tree species such as Siris, Rain tree, Ashoka, Amaltas and other Cassia species, Terminalia (Indian Badam), Peltophorum (Copper pod), Gulmohar, Palm trees, Molseri and also Lignum vitae[2]. But instead of planting all these trees, the officials introduced only a single tree, a foreign species, the Conocarpus.

Conocarpus is actually mangrove specie and is imported from Ethiopia. Conocarpus erectus, commonly called buttonwood or button mangrove, is a mangrove shrub in the family Combretaceae. This species grows on shorelines in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. This plant is suitable for areas with plenty of water in soil. According to many experts it’s a good plant due to its long lasting nature. It can survive in high or low temperature and also have the ability to reduce noise pollution. However Karachi’s is not suitable for this plant.

About 2.2 million Conocarpus were imported from Ethiopia in 2008. The plantation of an alien plants species – the Conocarpus – is considered to be one of the biggest environmental crimes by the nature conservationists. At start this plant had a price of about 15000-25000 per plant but later on its price declined to just 15-25 per palnt.[4]

According to experts this plant is going to damage the environmental ecosystem..It will negatively affect the growth of other plants and cause health problems as well. This tree has been extensively used in roadsides and by home owners for shades, being unaware of its disasters.

Conocarpus is basically suitable to areas near coast and rivers but it is not suitable for areas like Karachi because this city is already facing scarcity of water and this shortage is increasing rapidly with passing years. This plant can suck water from the very inner layers of soil. It can even break the rock to convert it into soil for its survival. This shows the power of its root system. Therefore it can also damage pipe lines of water or sewerage lines.

An expert on tree plantation expressed his views on social media about the plantation of this specific tree that experts are terming it as monoculture and warned of adverse impacts on city’s general atmosphere. Nature conservationists termed such mass level plantation of same species on plants as monoculture and they believe that monoculture creates a similar environment, hindering bird population, forcing them to migrate since different birds have varying nesting habits and prefer different trees.[2]

Conocarpus plant has negative impact on our ecosystem as it is not suitable to our environment. This plant disturbs water cycle because it absorbs plenty of water but does not evaporate it enough which hinders the water cycle. It has low capability to absorb heat waves. Conocarpus suck all the water from the soil and there would be no soil water left in a few years. Sucking up water and throwing into the air is a normal process for all plants called transpiration.

Since this plant does not bear any edible fruit therefore birds also do not like make their nests on these trees. Sometime sparrows can be found on these trees but this tree is disliked by majority of birds. One reason is also that it’s a monoculture plant and when a single plant is grown on such large scale, birds prefer to migrate from these trees. In addition, Honeybees are also not attracted on these trees.

It has very strong root system of this plant not only damage sewerage and water pipe lines but also do not let other plants to grow nearby. Hence force out native species. Birds normally do not make their nests on these trees because they are alien trees for them. Environmental and health assessments expressed that this plant is also damaging for health and cause respiratory diseases. It is also observed that this plant cause pollen allergy in many people. It also causes Ear Nose and Throat infections.

In a dense populated city (Karachi) of Pakistan, it is easy to say that all nurseries may not be obeying the regulation of government about this plant. It is also probable that many of them may be unaware of this plant’s restriction. In this condition t is very important to educate people about not planting this tree and if they have did so then they should keep trimming such trees to mitigate their growth.

A divisional Forest Officer commented about Conocarpus that 50% citizens demand Conocarpus because this tree is used as a fence outside the homes and other buildings. It has also been used in parks in large number. It’s also used for beautification because it can be trimmed easily in various shaped. A 20 year old gardener in a nursery said that even if government of Sindh bans the sale of these trees, still people prefer to purchase them and buy them from private nurseries because people demand those plants which can survive in less water.

Its is time to save Karachi from this disastrous plant. The problem is that Karachi is not in condition to bear if all Conocarpus would be removed. According to experts now have to plant 5 million trees in any case to mitigate the mess we created by planting 2.2 million Conocarpus.

However we can stop further plantation of these mangrove plants. As Prime Minister of Pakistan have started campaign to plant 10 million plants in coming five years I felt a need to run a campaign to make people aware about the disasters that Conocarpus bring with them. There are a large number of people who are planting this plant outside their homes. If people are encouraged to grow plants at one end , I think, on the other side we also need to prevent people from growing this plant and shrink their further growth by continuous trimming of small conocarpuses so that they cannot be transformed into strong trees. In this campaign we will educate people that:

  • We must stop plantation of this tree.
  • All the very small ones, planted in Karachi, must be removed.
  • At many places, they should be kept trimmed and not allowed to grow into trees. These should be removed since we are not going to lose trees and should be replaced with other trees.
  • Over a period of 3-5 years, almost all Conocarpus must be removed.
  • First create green spaces with native species & then gradually remove Conocarpus.

We decided to arrange different seminars, sessions, practical plantation for the purpose of making people aware of this information. Media can also play an important role in spreading this information to general public. All these efforts will hopefully contribute in making people aware about this plant to mitigate its demand and growth.

Why This Project Is Important for Society

This project has great importance for the society. Since people are interested in plantation as a result of different campaigns conducted to encourage and motivate them towards plantation. Environmental experts have also urged people to increase plantation. It is so because as a result of global warming the temperature of Pakistan has also increased to a critical limit. This circumstance was the major reason behind the motivation of plantation because it’s a cheap and easy way to cope with rising temperature naturally. But due to lack of knowledge and research about the suitable plants for Karachi, mass plantation of Conocarpus was carried out in past. It was realized later about the problems that are associated with this plant’s plantation in Karachi. The plant had been planted in road sides, parks, outside homes and buildings. It was then very difficult to remove this plant from the city. After many efforts and even ban on the sale of this plant, still people are interested in purchasing this plant because it grows rapidly in low water and can be shaped in differed designs for beautification. Karachi is no more able to bear further growth of this tree. Therefore it is very important to educate people about the harmful effects of this plant.

In a city of more than 16.6 million population, it is easy to say that all nurseries may not be obeying the regulation of government about this plant. It is also probable that many of them may be unaware of this plant’s restriction. In this populous city it is easy to say that great number of people is unaware about this plant’s harms and restrictions as well. In this condition t is very important to educate people about not planting this tree and if they have did so then they should keep trimming such trees to mitigate their growth. They should plant other plants because there is no doubt that Karachi is in extreme need of plants. People should keep on trimming and minimizing these trees but along this they should keep on planting other plants so that the plantation level may not decrease.

This project has a great social impact as well. This campaign will educate people about the right choice when they are going to plant. Furthermore this will help to create a healthy environment. A gardening expert said in his comments about Conocarpus that if we will not stop the growth of this specie, then we should get ready to replace the whole pipelines’ system and renew the roads and pavements because they damage all of them. This project will save the environment from the growth of this plant and ultimately we will be saved from the resultant abashment.

The project will also impact the society financially by saving of expenditure that will be the consequent of this plant. According to the comment mentioned above, if we face the situation of the replacement of the damaged sewerage system, pipe lines, roads, it will highly costly both in monetary terms and time consuming. This amount that would be spent on these repairing will be financed from the tax money- the money we pay. The expenses will be ultimately paid by the citizens. Hence people must stop the plantation of this tree to save themselves from affliction. Furthermore, to save themselves from the effects of the summer season the demand and sale of different electronic items such as refrigerators, air conditioners etc. has also increased considerably. This solution is not only costly but it also contributes in the increase of temperature. ACs cause increase in temperature and other electronic items also produce heat which cumulatively participates in rising temperature of any area. By planting the right and ecologically suitable plants we will be able to bring down our temperature and it will be helpful in our cost saving as well. However people must be aware of planting the right tree. The mistake of past should not be revived again. This project will help people to stay away from repeating this mistake and will also allow to think about to bring down the level of this plant to minimal level.

This project will also bring the society in one platform. The citizens will be united for one mission. It will enable the people to stand and come forward to save the city. Every individual will contribute in the welfare of the city. The audience of the campaign will be motivated to spread the message to those who are still unaware or have not attended any session. It will emerge a sense of responsibility in them. This will not only make them responsible but more careful about their role as a responsible and accountable citizen. It is very natural that when people are trusted given any kind of responsibility, it makes them more careful about their task.

In this project I also got help from my local MP, so it has a political factor as well. Since our PM has also started a campaign of Plant for Pakistan and this project has some affiliation with that one so it is also supported by political bodies. This affiliation will increase this project’s authenticity and its message will be more acceptable for people. Government will come forward to help people to work out the message of this campaign.

This campaign is also helpful for the benefit of our ecosystem. Since these trees force out the native species and birds do not make their nests on these plants. Decline in this tree and increase in other ecofriendly trees will help to grow other species. Birds will be attracted towards the native trees. Increase in native plants will also reduce the possibility of damage of roads, pavements and the system inside the surface of earth that is sewerage system.

All the benefits linked with project will cumulatively create a chain of benefits. It will help the society both in short and long term. It will help the society in many ways. Socially, financially, economically it will have a significant impact on the society.

Stopping plantation of the Conocarpus will also bring positive impacts on the health of the citizens because this plant cause pollen allergy. In addition some health experts also claim that this plant cause respiratory diseases. This campaign will also contribute in the protection of the health of citizens. Healthy citizens are an important asset of any state. A healthy person can work well as compared to a sick one. He can perform for the betterment of society more efficiently and effectively. A healthy person is more creative than an unhealthy man.

For some people it is very strange and wondering fact that a plant can be so harmful for any area. It is so because they do not know about the details of the reasons hidden behind. There is another reason that this plant is considered as environmentally friendly in some regions. This buttonwood is widespread specie in the tropical and subtropical coasts of America and West Africa. So it is difficult for them to believe the two extremes of the plantation of this tree. That is why they don’t care about such advices of do and don’t. This campaign will explain in detail all the facts and reasons which make these plants harmful for Karachi. We will prove them scientifically and logically with facts and figures.

Though this campaign is about stopping the more growth and plantation of Conocarpus, it will increase the demand for local plants in our nurseries. Hence plantation of local plants will get a boost because there is already number of campaigns conducted to increase plantation and people are actively participating in plantation being motivated by these campaigns. This campaign will be very helpful in this aspect.

Methodology

After identification of the issue regarding the environment and excess plantation of Conocarpus, I decided to run a campaign against Conocarpus. This campaign needed specific methodological steps to make it successful. For this purpose I developed the following steps that lead me to the successful execution of this project. The steps are explained below:

Gathering of Knowledge

Every campaign or project cannot be completed without having enough knowledge about it. Therefore it is a crucial step to gather complete relevant information about goal of campaign.

Survey

For my campaign first I checked the validity of my campaign idea that either I need to conduct this campaign or not. For this purpose I performed a survey and asked people about Conocarpus and its impacts on our ecosystem. As I know that in the campaign “Plant for Pakistan”, most of the youth is interested and same is specially targeted through social media that is why I also specially considered youth in my survey. I conducted this survey from university students & I found that many people are unaware of this plant and have planted this one in their homes as well.

About Conocarpus

I searched and collected enough information about the disasters of Conocarpus that is required to deliver to people for their awareness. For this I visited different environmental protection agencies like SEPA, Environmental Protection Agency. I also gathered testimonials about my cause and also made sure that this issue is also discussed by media and surveys have also been conducted by different faculties. I made sure to be prepared to answer difficult questions about the importance of my cause.

Areas To Cover

Generally my target was Karachi but specifically I selected different areas where I conducted my activity. Conocarpus, at start, was mostly planted in areas like Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karsaz, Bin Qasim Park, Beach Park, Khayaban-e-Hafiz in DHA, and University Road near Askari Park etc. I have also considered online campaign to make it known to people of areas where I could not conduct any activity. I listed names of areas where I will carry out this activity the areas included Nazimabad, Dr. Ziauddin Road, Clifton, Gulshan Town, Sharah-e-Liaquat, Gizri, Saddar, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karsaz, DHA

Mapping

I did mapping to point out these areas where I had to go and work on my job. It helped out me to identify the areas where I had to conduct my campaign. Mapping is an important step for selecting the areas where we are going to conduct our activity. It also made my work easy to point out the targeted points where I had to go for this activity. It provided the visual representation of my targeted areas.

Funds’ Raising

Every project has many expenses. I also needed funds to carry out my activity. Since it’s a social activity therefore I couldn’t raise funds by any investor so I went to different donors for their donations to raise funds for this campaign. I raised funds from USAID, Public Affairs Section, for my campaign. My local MP also donated for this campaign. It was time consuming but finally I succeed in this task.

Identification of Support

After gathering information about my task I pooled support to carry out this task. . I solely couldn’t complete my task. I, therefore, decided to find support from peers, experienced groups and high authority as well.

From High Authority

As my campaign is also supporting the PM’s campaign by educating people for right plantation, I approached high authority for their association. I decided to affiliate my campaign with PM’s campaign to ensure its publicity and success. I approached my local MP for his support both morally and financially as well.

Peers and Experienced Groups

I also found allies who understand my case and have connection to it to help me promote this campaign. I considered my different friends who were interested in this campaign. However I also needed an experienced association to work with me. For this I discussed my aspiration to different elders & experienced groups like NGOs in a hope that they may have suggestions to consider before and during my campaign process. I finally selected 15 allies who will help me directly or indirectly in my campaign.

Sponsorship

I got sponsorship from an Environmental Protection NGO ‘Shehri- citizens for better environment’ and ‘SCOPE’. It also helped me in conducting sessions and provided useful ideas as well.

Media

We all know that in this era of technology, media plays a crucial role to support any activity. As my campaign is about environmental protection and is also affiliated with PM’s campaign, I decided to make it public by media. Media plays a very supportive role to succeed my project. It became my voice.

Working Strategy

In this step I decided to define the work strategy. Number of sessions required to conduct & where to conduct.

Number of Sessions & Areas

I decided to conduct 15 sessions in schools, colleges and universities of Karachi.

Schools

Children feel very excitement in plantation. Prime Minister Imran Khan has also introduced ‘pencils with seeds’ for children. I Selected The Smart School, The Educators for this activity.

Colleges

I selected Sir Syed College, Abdullah Government College for Women, City College for Women, Government College of Commerce and Economics, Hayat-ul-Islam Girls Degree College, MDH College for Boys, S.M. Government Science College, Zam Zama Grammar School and College, College of Accounting and Management Sciences College.

Universities

I also selected universities i.e; Federal University, Iqra University, Muhammad Ali Jinnah University & NED University for my activity.

Other Areas

Furthermore 5 more sessions were conducted in the areas of Saddar, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karsaz, DHA and Nazimabad.

Campaign Tactics

In additions to seminars I also used other ways to covey my idea. I used leaflets, newspaper coverage, online campaign, media coverage, printed T shirts, banners etc. to make my message known to majority of public.

The coggle of the methodology of the project is enclosed next to methodology.

General Analysis

(Market analysis studies market needs and consumer preferences for a given project idea, my project’s need)

This project carries great importance because it’s about social welfare. I devoted myself for the well being of society and it does not bring any profit margin for me and all my companions. Although this type of campaigns does not offer any type of earning however they have great social image because they are carried out just for the sake of the society’s benefits regardless of any personal needs’ satisfaction.

There are number of campaigns that have been carried out to encourage people about plantation and let them contribute in making the Karachi city green, clean and to bring down its rising temperature. However people should also be educated about what to plant and which plants should be avoided. The reason is to stop people from growing Conocarpus because its mass plantation was a big mistake, committed in past and this plant became favorite for citizens due to some reasons.

This campaign will bring a very positive impact on society by educating people. It’s a need of time to make people aware about harmful facts associated with this plant. It will motivate them to stop this plant’s growth and further plantation.

Costing and Pricing

In this campaign I had to bear different costs which are explained below.

Table 1.1

Description Quantity Unit cost

(Rs.) Total cost

(Rs.)

Transportation cost 5000

Media coverage charges 15000

Volunteers for seminar’s arrangements 10 1000 10000

Leaflets 3000

Newspaper advertisement expenses 10000

Printed t-shirts 60 500 30000

Banners 18000

Pena flex 3000

Plants 50 500 25000

Other expenses 10000

Total 129000

Conclusion

This project helped people to be aware about the facts harmful for their ecosystem. People also learned about the importance of planting a right plant at right place according to the need and environment of a specific area. People learned that Conocarpus should be removed swiftly from our city but it is much important to keep in mind that these plants should be replaced with other ecofriendly plants, only chopping down of this plant will bring another big disaster for the city and will expose the city to great heat waves which is unaffordable for citizens of the city.

Cite this page

Mass Plantation of Conocarpus in Karachi. (2021, Feb 06). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/mass-plantation-of-conocarpus-in-karachi-essay

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