Lahore: ‘The world’s environment is going through an unprecedented and cataclysmic degradation which spells disaster for this planet and our future generations, and every single day of the year and not just the fifth of June should be considered as the World Environment Day,’ stated Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager Coca-Cola Pakistan, at a appraisal meeting to review the progress of the Sub-watershed Management and Environmental Conservation project being implemented in the Ayubia National Park area in partnership with the WWF-Pakistan for the past 7 consecutive years.
Coca-Cola has already invested more than half a million dollars in this project, which has positively impacted over 28,000 people of the local communities so far. The project achievements include recharging of over 566 million liters of groundwater, planting of over 140,000 indigenous trees to support reforestation, planting of another 15,000 fruit trees, conservation of 130 hectares of forest land, protection and development of 20 out of the 23 natural springs in the national park area, remodeling of water channels and construction of check dams to conserve water, installation of rainwater harvesting systems, provision of fuel efficient and solar powered stoves to reduce use of firewood, carrying out of solid waste management campaigns in local schools, and training of local women in vocational centers.
‘The world loses more than 150 acres of natural forest every single minute of every day, which comes to about 78 million acres every year,’ said Khan, and added, ‘Our country Pakistan has less than 4% land under forest, which is really alarming, as this is one of the main reasons for climate change. We should not just leave it to the government to protect and conserve the environment; instead every individual and every company must come forward to contribute. Our 7 year long association with WWF is a clear testament of how partnerships between the corporate sector and specialized NGOs can work wonders and I urge other companies too to invest more in sustainable environmental conservation programmes.’