Video: Pakistan sets example by paying construction workers out of work to plant trees during pandemic

The work, which pays between PKR 500 to PKR 800 per day, includes setting up nurseries, planting trees, and working as forest protection guards or forest firefighters.

Thousands of workers in Pakistan who were unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic are now being hired by the government to plant millions of trees across the country.

Since the nationwide lockdown began on March the 23rd, unemployed daily workers have been appointed to work as “jungle workers,” planting billions of trees.

Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project

The program is part of the 2018 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project, which attempts to fight rising temperatures, droughts, flooding, and many other climate change-related natural phenomena by planting hundreds of millions of trees in the next few years.

As the COVID-19 pandemic struck Pakistan, the 10 Billion Trees campaign was paused as part of social distancing orders to slow the spread of the disease, which has infected over 16,500 people in the country.

However, last month, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, granted an exemption to allow the forestry agency to restart the program and create more than 63,600 jobs.

The Federal Minister and Adviser to the PM for Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, told a source, “This year the program is hiring three times the number of labors it did in its first year.”

The Minister added many of the new jobs are being created in rural areas, with a focus on employing women and unemployed daily workers – mainly young people – who were migrating home from locked-down cities.

The work, which pays between PKR 500 to PKR 800 per day, includes setting up nurseries, planting trees, and working as forest protection guards or forest firefighters. All the employees have been ordered to wear masks and maintain the instructed two meters of social distance between them, he added.

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