The University of Karachi (UoK) and Services for Environment and Mangrove Protection (SEMP) inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop an urban forest on the campus. 

The UoK Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi and the President SEMP Dr Kanwal Nazim signed the MoU at the VC Secretariat on Wednesday. The KU Registrar Prof Dr Imran Ahmad Siddiqui, deans and teachers of various faculties, member syndicates, student and campus advisors, representatives of Karachi University Teachers Society and Karachi University Officers Welfare Association, and directors and section heads of the relevant departments and offices attended the MoU signing ceremony.

The KU VC Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi discussed the environmental concerns and mentioned that projects like urban forests and mass-scale plantation drives are a way forward to combat climate change.

He believed that this urban forest project would also help in improving the air quality in and around the campus and cleaning the nearby environment. “The pollution becomes a real threat for humans and nature and we have to take serious measures on an emergency basis to avoid the increase of carbon footprint in the environment.”

He nominated Dr Muhammad Faheem Siddiqui as the focal person for the urban forest project and shared that soon policy related to the care of plants, birds, and animals present within the KU premises would be designed with the inputs of all concerned departments and individuals.

Earlier, the KU Secretary of Landscape Gardening Council Dr Muhammad Faheem Siddiqui briefed the participants that the urban forest project would be a triangular activity among the KU, SEMP, and corporate sectors.

He shared that 15 acres of land have been provided behind the newly constructed building of the School of Law and near Silver Jubilee Gate. He mentioned that SEMP has designed a four-layered canopy format for this project in which 40, 000 plants and saplings would be provided with the support of the corporate sector.

Dr Faheem Siddiqui also briefed the audience about the past plantation drives arranged on the campus and highlighted their impact on the KU.

Meanwhile, Dr Kanwal Nazim said that SEMP would provide scientific assistance for developing urban forest and would also help in taking care of the plants for at least two to three years.

She mentioned that this is a community service and SEMP would launch joint activities with the concerned sections and departments of the UoK to train their relevant staff so that they could provide better protection to the plants, birds, and animals in the proposed urban forest.

Dr Kanwal informed the meeting that SEMP has already established five urban forests in different varsities and locations of Islamabad and Karachi and shared that plantation activities for the development of the said urban forest would launch soon.

Related: UoK holds seminar to mark the World Environment Day

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