COVID-19 has created mass unemployment in countries around the world. As governments scramble to fund relief programs, Pakistan is taking advantage of the opportunity to support citizens who are suddenly without income and heal environmentally devastated regions of the country simultaneously.
The country is paying thousands who are out of work to plant trees in areas damaged by deforestation, drought, and livestock grazing. The initiative is part of their “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” reforestation program which was launched in 2018.
The new COVID-19 hiring process will add 60,000 workers, tripling the number of planters available. The workers have planted 30 million indigenous saplings since the pandemic began, including mulberries, acacias, and moringa trees. The program aspires to plant 50 million trees by the end of 2020. With all the new workers on deck, the goal is within reach.
Workers are paid 500 rupees a day. Although this is a small amount, it serves as enough for individuals to keep supporting their families.
Pakistan’s innovative new system is killing two birds with one stone. Addressing a crisis by hiring people to plant trees is a great solution for providing for those in need while cleaning the air, mitigating the effects of climate change, and making local ecosystems more resilient.