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Winter is coming: PM Imran Khan warns Pakistanis again of second coronavirus wave

Prime Minister Imran Khan is addressing a ceremony in Islamabad, on October 19, 2020. — Geo News screengrab

Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday warned Pakistanis again that the coming months can bring a second wave of the novel coronavirus, Geo News reported.

The prime minister was addressing the Clean Green Index Award Ceremony event in Islamabad where he spoke about the hazards of climate change.

“We have destroyed our forests, and our next generation will have to pay the price for it,” he said.

Talking about the government’s measures for reforestation, he said: “Our first step — which is ambitious — is to plant 10 billion trees. The second is to clean our cities and generate electricity through solid waste.”

The premier speaking about how the measure would be possible, he said that the first step would be to change the mindset of the people and make them realise that the country’s climate was worsening through pollution.

“The second step will be to give incentives to deputy commissioners for their hard work and punish those who fail to fulfill their jobs,” he said.

PM Imran Khan had launched the Clean Green Pakistan Index to start a healthy cleanliness competition among 19 cities across the country on November 15 last year.

The focus of the initiative is to inculcate a spirit of competition on cleanliness initiatives in the cities and facilitate the behavioural change, building positive attitudes, institutional strengthening for better water, sanitation and hygiene services and facilities.

The prime minister said he feared a “second coronavirus spike” in cities such as Faisalabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, and Gujranwala, as the winter season approaches.

‘Second coronavirus spike’

The premier, highlighting his government’s policies during the coronavirus pandemic, said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has praised Pakistan’s COVID-19 strategy.

“Pakistan not only saved its people, but we also saved the economy,” he said.

However, the premier said that he feared of a “second coronavirus spike” in cities such as Faisalabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, and Gujranwala, as the winter season approaches.

The prime minister lamented how Pakistan’s various cities such as Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi used to be “clean” but were now suffering from pollution.

“People used to drink Peshawar’s water as if it was mineral water,” he said.

Speaking about Karachi, he said that trash and garbage could be found scattered on the metropolis’ streets. “Sewerage is being disposed of in the sea, causing hurdles for fishermen.”

In Lahore, nearly 70% of the green cover has been finished, the premier said, adding that the as a result, the pollution in Punjab’s capital had increased.

“In October, November, and December, the pollution levels increase to such an extent that they cause harm to people’s health in Lahore,” he said.

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