PESHAWAR: A senior judge of Peshawar High Court (PHC) Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan has questioned the plantation of ‘non-eco-friendly’ eucalyptus in Hayatabad on Wednesday. The judge remarked that the eucalyptus is not suitable for the environment as it absorbs underground water and the area is already facing water scarcity.

“There is the scarcity of underwater and it is not available even through tube wells,” the senior judge remarked. “Such trees should be planted along the banks of rivers instead of residential areas.” The remarks were issued during the hearing a case relating to deforestation in the province.

The judge said that the eucalyptus will further deteriorate the issue of scarcity of drinking water in the area as this tree absorb underground water. What is the logic behind planting so many eucalyptus trees in Hayatabad? Justice Qaiser Rashid asked Director General of Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) to explain the matter.

The director-general of PDA responded that experts have advised that the eucalyptus are not a threat to the environment or groundwater of Hayatabad area. The PDA chief said that the water level is too low in the area, therefore, eucalyptus trees are not able to absorb the groundwater.

The PDA chief said that the government is implementing the Billion Tree Tsunami Scheme under which the target is to plant 1 billion trees in the province. He informed the court that the project does not include eucalyptus trees and steps have been taken to protect forests in the province.

However, the judge said that it would be better to plant poplar trees instead of eucalyptus as the poplar trees last a long time, beautiful looking and good for the environment. The judge said that trees are extremely important for the environment so why don’t we plant eco-friendly trees which will have a good effect on the environment. 

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