The Little Urban Jungle of Karachi The Little Urban Jungle of Karachi

Mr. Shahzad Qureshi’s has the proverbial green thumb and he simply loves to use it. In his bid to give the megalopolis of Karachi a cleaner and fresher environment he has few peers and certainly no superiors.

Originally inspired by Indian eco-entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma, who actually came up with the idea of creating urban forests in mega-cities. Mr. Qureshi set about implementing the idea in Karachi in a park adjacent to the euphemistically and optimistically named storm and waste water drain known as ‘Neher-e-Khayam’ in Clifton Block 5.

He was met with near instantaneous success as over 95% of the saplings he planted have gone on to grow into really healthy trees within a span of only twenty months or so.

This verdant green space is now a simply spectacular 20 to 25 feet dense ‘forest’ (for lack of a better term) so much so that one cannot move freely around without the benefit of a machete…

This little acreage of flora is also a veritable haven of sorts for all kinds of fauna such as exotic birds and insects and even worms that have created their very own bio-diverse universe in the little space given to them. Brightly Colored butterflies have also been spotted as they flutter around in search of places to lay their eggs. Come monsoon season the forest grew even more lush and green with its verdure being visible over vast distances.

The trees planted in this little sandlot of a forest include anaar trees neem, peepul, keekar, fig trees, guavas trees, sheesham, almond trees, kanair and even the gulmohar. These days they have grown very rapidly indeed and now have reached towering heights in excess of 20 feet or so.

Learning from his success he now plans to emulate this example into different areas of the city and simultaneously increase the size of his little forest to at least 400 square yards so as to turn the entire park into a little urban jungle.

Hi success has inspired many people and now he is in demand from Lahore to Karachi. The little green forests can act as emergency lungs for the whole city and clean up the smog that seems to be a permanent part of everyday life in Karachi.

Written by: Rashida Zahid
Photo Courtesy: Express Tribune

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