Economic and Environmental Costs and Benefits of Paper Mulberry: A Case Study of Islamabad-Pakistan
Plants and trees make our cities more attractive and provide many ecosystem services but some of these also cost society harm in the form of pollen allergy. According to an estimate, 60-70 percent of the trees in Islamabad are of Paper mulberry. Thirty percent of the people are affected each year from pollen allergy in Islamabad. This study evaluated age and gender-wise effects of Pollen Allergy on health followed by proposing options for Paper Mulberry as an alternative. The economic and environmental costs and benefits of Paper mulberry and its alternative plants were also quantified. The annual benefits and costs of Paper Mulberry and its alternative plants were estimated through “The National Tree Benefits Calculator”. Descriptive statistics along with expert opinion method was used for the analysis of the data. The pollen allergy affects children more as compared to other age groups and more on female as compared to male. Urban respondents were affected more by pollen allergy as compared to rural respondents. Most of the respondents were found affected in the month of March. The average monthly health expenditures of the respondents from pollen as Rs. 879. Pine Rexburg and Kachnar are viable alternatives for Paper Mulberry from both economic and environmental viewpoints. Based on the findings it is concluded that Pine Rexburg and Kachnar are the best alternative for Paper Mulberry in Islamabad. The Capital Development Authority should replace Paper Mulberry with Pine Rexburg and Kachnar in the city. Besides, Government should arrange awareness program especially in the pollen month (March) and should provide free of cost treatment and preventives for the pollen patients.