THE bicycle rickshaws that weave through New Delhi's narrow lanes have long been scorned by authorities here for congesting the city's already fierce traffic. The creaking carriages crawl alongside luxury sedans, book hawkers, horse-drawn carts, hulking buses and cows, said a report published in The Washington Post. In this city and the other quickly modernizing capitals of South Asia, governments have called the rickshaws backward, embarrassing symbols of the Third World.

The traders and shopkeepers categorically rejected the government's new policy of power conservation, as most of the markets and shopping plazas were closed down as usual here in the City on Sunday. The federal government apart from other power conservation steps had decided to change the weekly off day of markets from Sunday to Friday, asking the traders to follow the new instructions from June 1, 2008.

Tapping of renewable energy resources of wind, solar and bio-fuels is necessary to resolve the prevailing energy crisis and reduce the growing trade deficit. Environment Protection Department Additional Secretary Dr Zafar Abdullah stated this while speaking at a seminar on 'Clean Energy for Safe Environment and Sustainable Development' here at a local hotel on Wednesday. EPD Director General Dr Shagufta Shahjehan chaired the seminar.

Various industries and vehicles in and around the municipal limits of the federal Capital give off 12000 tons particulate matter per annum, said Muneer Ahmad, Chairman Development Communications Network (DEVCOM) in an interview with TheNation.

Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri has said that the government will soon announce a policy for pollution control and energy conservation. She was speaking at a recently held Earth Day Carnival, jointly organised by Promoloon and UHU at Sindbad Kids park in connection with World Environment Day. Social Welfare Minister Begum N D Khan, was also present on the occasion. Shazia Marri underlined the need for a joint struggle to solving these problems which were the outcome of population explosion in the country.

Punjab University Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology organised a symposium on

Pakistan water storage capacity that currently stands at merely nine per cent of average annual flows would further go down by 12 per cent over the next decade.

Chief Commissioner Hamid Ali Khan Tuesday said the Agriculture Directorate of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) would plant over one lakh saplings in the rural areas of the capital during current spring tree plantation drive. He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of spring tree plantation drive in the rural areas of the Capital. Farmers, NGOs officials, local community and director of Agriculture Directorate ICT were also present on the occasion. "Seventy five thousand saplings have been cultivated and nurtured in the nurseries of the ICT Agriculture Directorate and 25,000 plants are being provided by the Capital Development Authority and Forest Department of Rawalpindi' Chief Commissioner informed. He further said special attention would be paid to the protection of the planted saplings while survival rate of plantation would be checked regularly and moreover special prize would also be given to those responsible for saplings protection. Talking about the forests reducing situation in the country, he said forest were depleting which called for urgent measures to increase the requisite area of forests by planting maximum trees in the country to overcome the deficiency of forests and making the environment green. Talking about the species and their numbers that would be planted in current season were Olive 15,000, Shreen 4,000, Dranta 3,000, Kachnar 4,000, Guava 3,000, Jaman 13,000, Loquat 13,000, Sukhchain 3,000, Arjan 7,000, Pomegranate 10,000, Anjeer 22,000, bottle Brush 3,000, Villo 6,000, Shesham 5,000, Fedal Wood 6,000, Pine 5,000, Amaltas 8,000, Dhrek 6,000 and Grapes 15,000. According to the plantation programme he said 2,500 saplings would be planted in Rawat Union Council (UC), Sihala 4,500, Koral 6,000, Sohan 5,000, Tarlai 3,000, Kurri 4,000, Kirpa 3,500, Chirah 5,000, Tumair 4,000, Phulgaran 2,500, Bhara Kahu 4,500, Shah Allah Ditta 4,000 and 45,000 saplings would be planted at road sides and around educational institutions. Chief Commissioner Hamid Ali also urged the citizens to fully take part in the spring tree plantation drive and make it successful.

ISLAMABAD (PPI) President Pervez Musharraf inaugurated the national spring tree plantation drive here on Friday. More than 86.5 saplings would be planted during the drive all over the country. Federal Minister for Environment, Syed Wajid Hussain Bukhari told the media men after inauguration ceremony that during Spring plantation drive, 22 million in Punjab, 12 million in Sindh, 27 million in NWFP, 1.5 million in Balochistan and 16 million in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 4 million in Northern Areas and 4 million saplings by different departments would be planted, says a press release issued here. In his message for the occasion, President Musharraf said that forests are the essential part of environment system. Forests regulate the water supplies to reservoirs and irrigation systems, which are the lifeline for the agro-based economy of Pakistan. Trees are natural air filters and perform protective function to stabilise mountainous land and to rebuild fertility of lands. He said our entire rural population also depends upon woods and biogas as a primary source energy. Despite their indirect contribution in other production sectors, economic values of forests are usually underestimated in national accounts and GDP. President Musharraf under Medium term Development Framework (2005-10) and Millenium Development Goals (2015) ample financial resources has been allocated to increase forest cover from 5.01 percent to 6 percent by 2015. Moreover, he said ECNEC has approved Rs 12 billion to launch mega projects of wood in all provinces, AJK and Northern Areas. He directed the provincial governments to ensure implementation on these projects. The President reiterated that Pakistan, as a member of various international and regional forums on Forests is committed to undertake forestry development programme with international support. He said the government would endeavour to ensure transfer of technologies, training and upgrading of departmental infrastructure in order to facilitate the Provinces in implementation their strategies and programmes of Forestry sector. He urged all Pakistani citizens to participate in the national efforts to cover barren land with trees.