Timber mafia minting millions of rupees by indulging in deforestation activity: Speakers

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Professor Dr. Zafar Iqbal Shams of the Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Karachi, said that the timber mafia was minting millions of rupees from the trees of eucalyptus and conocarpus in the country.

He expressed these views while addressing a seminar held on the occasion of World Environment Day.  The event was held here at the Chemistry Auditorium on Friday. The departments of chemistry, education, and botany of the University of Karachi jointly organized the seminar and later held a plantation activity and a poster competition for students at the department of botany.   Trees reduce the urban heat effect and also reduce ozone formation in the troposphere, besides providing shades during hot summer days and help in reducing urban noise pollution as well, said the professor.  Moreover, he also added that the timber mafia deploys systematic method to chop down these trees and then transport its wood from one place to the another which was being traded for millions of rupees.

He regretted that no serious action was taken against the timber mafia who were indulged in relentlessly cutting down the trees. He said that like other plants these two trees also absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen without having any adverse effects on the environment.

According to him, eucalyptus and conocarpus absorb more water as compared to other trees as they grow faster than other trees.  Professor Dr Zafar Iqbal warned that if deforestation continues like this then we may face severe environmental problems.

“One of the major reasons for the rapid temperature rise is the relentless deforestation.

We should focus on planting different types of plants instead of the same type of plants as plantation of one type of trees could be dangerous, as diseases can rapidly affect all of them.” Another speaker, Dr Hina Baig from the National Institute of Oceanography said that they were working for the elimination of marine pollution and need to work together for the elimination of marine pollution and protection of aquatic life.

“Every year millions of aquatic life die due to dumping of garbage. There is a need to raise public awareness in this regard. People need to understand how much damage is done to the garbage thrown into the sea, ” she added. On this occasion, Dr Dilshad Ahmed of Sindh Environmental Protection Agency said that every year various events related to the world environment were organized by the public and private sectors but she regretted that the learning from such were not implemented.