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Islamabad August 31, 2018 - In continuation of its efforts to promote green environment, National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST) kick-started a tree plantation drive here on Friday. The newly admitted batch of students was engaged to plant over 1000 tree saplings of various species, as part of their Orientation Week that coincided with the plantation drive.  The purpose was to engrain in them the urge to conserve green environment. Overall, more than 5000 trees are to be planted during the one-month-long campaign. 

Since its launch in 2008 to date, NUST Islamabad campus has developed from wilderness to splendour. In conjunction with developing it into a tailor-made state-of-the-art campus catering to the 21st century teaching and research needs, the university’s horticulture department has paid special attention to harnessing the natural landscape that cannot but inspire praise of anyone coming to witness its magnificence.  

It all started in 2008 with the cultivation of area alongside Aligarh Avenue (starting from Gate-1 near Kashmir Highway) in which the faculty, staff and students from NUST schools and even military colleges participated. Sooner than later, there began the construction of NUST schools and hostels. The challenges the horticulture team faced initially had been mammoth. For instance, the land they had to work on was barren and infertile together with scarce water resources. Nevertheless, the determination on the part of workforce was proverbial. In order to fulfill the water requirement, a couple of water reservoirs were created out of the naturally existent water channels. For this purpose, large stones excavated from across the campus were used as water stoppages. The horticulture team showed both prudence and diligence in their work. During 2008-9, they were allocated a fund of Rs 26 Million for the development of 12 acres of land in the light of PC-1. However, they not only used the same budget for the development of 75 acres of land, but also saved some money that was later spent on the development of playgrounds around the campus.

Over the years, the horticulture team has transformed the map of NUST with their untiring efforts.  The hav beautified   schools, hostels and cafeterias. They have embellished the grounds, parking areas, viewpoints and roads of NUST. During 2010-11, the staff cultivated about 80.1 acres of land and planted 6000 tree saplings. The figure rose to 105 and 134 acres in 2012 and 2013, respectively. While in 2014, 142 acres of land were beautified with 22000 trees.

In 2015, about 9 acres of barren land was planted with 2000 plants. The areas cultivated during the year included beautification of School of Social Sciences and Humanities (S3H), Viewpoint-1 & 2, Squash court, plot besides Institute of Environmental Science & Engineering, grid station, Bhitai faculty mess and FWO workshop, now male faculty block. In year 2017 & 2018, horticulture branch has focused to do more plantation at the barren ridges on the campus by engaging more and more students and faculty. As of today, the campus is green with over 73,000 trees and countless shrubs and vines. During the spring plantation drive only, over 7000 Potohar friendly trees were planted, including Shisham, Shirin, Pilkhan, Sukhchain, Arjun etc. 

Likewise, approximately 10,000 saplings of different species were planted between July and August 2018 to utilise maximum rainfall. Lately, the university has also introduced the seed ball concept of indigenous plant species. In 2018, over 10,000 seed balls have been planted out of the total 34,000 new trees planted on the campus.     

Being a premier national university, NUST has aligned its green efforts with the government’s policy to overcome environmental pollution, and has been striving to play its part in raising awareness among the masses through various initiatives. Keeping in view its efforts towards environment friendly university management, NUST intends participating in Indonesian UI Green Metric University Rankings this year. The ranking provides the result of online survey regarding the current condition and policies related to Green Campus and Sustainability in the Universities all over the world.

National University of Sciences and Technology H-12, Islamabad, Pakistan
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