The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Pakistan’s economy to a great extent. With an approximate figure of 19 million people being laid off from their jobs, the poverty rate has increased from 30% to 40% of the country’s 220 million people, most of whom are finding it extremely hard to make ends meet. The government is now helping unemployed daily-wage workers to earn money through the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme. The British rock band Coldplay was the first to publicly appreciate the government’s efforts in providing employment opportunities to the needy. A post on the music troupe’s official Twitter page read, “This is an amazing idea.” It was signed off by band front man Chris Martin’s initials “CM”.
This is an amazing idea. CMhttps://t.co/aytigChX13
— Coldplay (@coldplay) May 27, 2020
Pakistan is helping daily-wage earners by paying them for planting trees, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF). The initiative is part of Pakistan’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, a forest restoration project. It is the primary example of the “green recovery” bandwagon that countries can jump on to in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Due to coronavirus, all the cities have shut down and there is no work. Most of us daily wagers couldn’t earn a living,” a construction worker named Abdul Rahman told TRF. “All of us now have a way of earning daily wages again to feed our families.”
Pakistan kicked off its initiative to plant 10 billion trees over the course of five years back in 2018, following a successful effort by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, the 10 Billion Tree Programme was put on hold following the coronavirus outbreak in the country, with most parts going into complete lockdown on March 23. Prime Minister Imran Khan later allowed the project to resume and it has been ongoing since. Government officials have said that this reforestation programme will create over 63,600 jobs, which will pay between Rs500 and Rs800 rupees per day. Most of the newly created jobs have been in rural areas, with the required SOP’s in place too.