Karachi, June 03, 2022 (PPI-OT):On the eve of the World Environment Day to be observed on June 5, President National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) Muhammad Naeem Qureshi said Friday that Pakistan is facing tremendous environment issues, particularly climate change, heatwaves, air pollution, water contamination and deforestation, resultantly, public health and the country’s economy has suffered heavy losses.
In a statement, Qureshi said that Pakistan’s forest cover has massively deforested to 5.01 percent of its total land, which is too low, as UN standard says a country should have at least 25 percent of its total land under forest cover. Qureshi said such deforestation has contributed to warming as mean summer temperature in the country has risen alarmingly. Sindh’s temperature in 60 years has risen by 2 degrees centigrade while Karachi has warmed by 3 degrees centigrade in the same period. There is need to reduce this temperature by ensuring mass tree plantation in and out of the city, he added.
He said that the federal as well as provincial government had still not done sufficient work to tackle the environment issues, which was the matter of great concern. He said that Pakistan is among the top 10 countries of the world most affected by climate change in the past 20 years. He said, “The changes in climate had started around fifty years back due to rapid industrialization with substantial geopolitical consequences. As things stand, we are at a crossroads for a much warmer world; therefore, effective and efficient strategies are required to tackle climate change causing crippling water crisis in the country.”
He said that Pakistan’s climate change concerns include increased variability of monsoons, the likely impact of receding Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayan (HKH) glaciers due to global warming and carbon soot deposits from trans-boundary pollution sources, threatening water inflows into Indus River System (IRS), severe water-stressed conditions particularly in arid and semi-arid regions impacting agriculture and livestock production negatively, decreasing forest cover and increased level of saline water in the Indus delta also adversely affecting coastal agriculture, mangroves and breeding grounds of fish.
Pakistan’s water sector remains vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. To ensure that Pakistan is adequately prepared to deal with the changing climatic realities, it is important to understand the nexus between water availability, agricultural productivity and climatic variability, NFEH president said. There is also need to control water losses in rivers, canals, tributaries, and water courses by cementing their canals besides adapting to water conservation measures like drip irrigation system, says NFEH president. He said that 40 percent of drinking water is lost in Karachi due to leakages and pilferage, so actions should also be taken to stop leakages and water theft.
He said that air pollution in the country is also rising constantly due to lack of solid steps and investments. Lahore and Karachi have featured on the list of the world’s top four most polluted cities by capturing third and the fourth rank respectively. The government needs to ensure action against smoke emitting vehicles across the country, particularly in big cities, stop garbage burning in cities and towns besides reducing industrial emissions as per international standards, says Qureshi. The NFEH president asked the federal and provincial governments to come forward with long term strategies and effective actions to tackle all environmental issues so as to save people and the country from environmental impacts.
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