For the Red Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, the local government is cutting down hundreds of old trees near Cantonment Board Malir (CBM). The news comes as Karachi and other parts of Pakistan are experiencing numerous bouts of extreme heat.
Last month, work on the Red Line BRT began. However, allegations of deforestation that created traffic bottlenecks and overall disturbance in the area lately sparked a large public outcry. Native neem and the exotic Conocarpus are among the trees that have been hacked down. Two decades ago, CBM predicted the planting of both trees.
For the Red Line BRT, the administration enlisted the help of the Asian Development Bank. According to sources, the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) awarded the project a no-objection certificate in 2020 despite knowing about the deforestation that will occur.
The Red Line BRT construction site originally contained roughly 23,693 trees, a number of trees in Karachi are being uprooted, according to the project’s environmental assessment study. According to reports, the forestation department will transplant a few native trees while saving roughly 300 others.
Pakistan and specifically Karachi are facing serious climate change impacts. Karachi is have become a concrete forest as urbanization is increasing while trees are not planted and in worst cases are cut for developing housing societies and roads.