Environmental Catastrophe in Pakistan // Junaid Ahmed Sohoo
Currently, Pakistan is encountered with multifaceted environmental concerns such as alteration of weather patterns, rapid urban sprawl, air quality deterioration, soaring land degradation, intensification of resource depletion and poor waste management system etc. In order to tackle such precarious situation, we have to know the causative factors and genesis behind such gigantic environmental catastrophe. Regrettably, Pakistan is among the states which have been not paying much in depth attention to these burgeoning crisis which have rubbed salt into the wound. Our elected officials rather than devising any positive strategy for the amelioration of environment concentrate more on peripheral issues of infrastructure and development projects which can bring some kickbacks and payola for them.
Moreover, there is a deprivation of long lasting environmental regulatory body which can ensure the implementation of an environmental framework in local production industries, power generation plants, sewage treatment plants, food processing sites and refineries. Therefore, there is a paucity of steady compliance which can keep track of these pollution fabricators which have been causing substantial devastation to the country.
In addition, there is a deficiency of vigorous professional advisory council which should be consisted of environmentalists, business tycoons, eminent stakeholders and lawmakers which can formulate an effective environmental policy coupled with stringent regulations which can promote the functional areas of Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. Also, there is a shortcoming of mutual consensus between commercial enterprises and environmental organizations. As a consequence of this, we have been incapable and unfit for the sustainable development and green economy for many years.
Besides this, population explosion is also the predominant cause of an environmental degradation. As we know that our country has unavailability of family planning and there has been no check and balance system to overcome this crippling issue. So, we have to face the music in the shape of deforestation, eutrophication, food security crisis and loss of freshwater.
Simultaneously, if we look into the possible negative repercussions of this environmental catastrophe, we will be jolted that such an escalating crisis can obstruct the economic progression of our country. To begin with health sector, we can gauge that due to widening environmental concerns public is more exposed to harmful agents. According to the report of WHO (World Health Organization), it has been disclosed that thirteen million deaths are attributed to preventable environmental causes which should be quite hair raising for our shattered health care system.
Secondly, due to decreasing forest habitat, there is an existential loss of biodiversity in Pakistan but forests and wildlife departments are not paying much heed towards it. According to the living Planet Report 2018 released by World Wide Fund, there has been great decline in global population of fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles due to recent environmental issues aggravation. So, we can rack our brains about the gravity of such issue by looking at the statistical figures.
In order to deal with such parlous circumstances, we have to accelerate ourselves too. We have to give green signal for structural changes with broad applications. Because there is a need of organizational as well as cultural changes in an environmental framework of our country. One of them is environmental education which can provide strategic knowledge of environment and its concerns and these should be included into the national education syllabus. Furthermore, environmental planning committees should be formed under the supervision of vigilance body which can evaluate the performance of any proposed project. Finally, we have to go for the mass media in order to promote positive environmental attitude. If these all actions would be implemented in letter and spirit, we will see a ray of hope for our future generations.