Only One Earth and Pakistan’s initiatives
Earth is getting hotter and mountains- the water towers suffer glacier retreat by passing a phase of global warming due toan increase in amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from 316 ppm in 1958 to 412 ppm in 2020 leading to worsening the issue of glacier melting. Pakistan is the house of more than 7000 glaciers, lies this preponderance, especially in the northern regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.Glaciers are melting rapidly in South Asia and this advent is unlikely to slow. As a result, unprecedented heat waves recently melted the ice on the Shisper Glacier, creating flooded lakes, destroying the Hasanabad Bridge, and damaging nearby localities, buildings, and two power plants. It is one of the largest in a series of catastrophic events in the region known as the Glacial Lake Outburst Flood. Such flooding has not only posed damage to the local community instead also continues to spell disaster on Pakistan’s long-term issue of water scarcity.
Undoubtedly, Pakistan, Iran, India,Kyrgyzstan and central Asian countries are becoming to face the worst drought conditions because of too little water availability, dryness and less precipitation records. Similarly,the Sindh government reported to IRSA that the severe water crisis hit the Sindh and demanded the extra water supply to cut the shortage in the province as per the water accord of 1991. The unequal water distribution put the farmers in grave concern due to the lack of timely irrigation of crops will give less yield, infuse food insecurity, starvation and disease outbreaks in the country. On the other side, the extreme drought conditions prevailing in the world brought some outstanding rediscoveries such as the ruins of 3,400 year old city of the Mittani Empire in Iraq owing to falling water level in the Mosul Reservoir but this does not mean that we should not focus on environmental issues, rather that our goal as a nation should be to reduce the severity of environmental catastrophes by changing our behavioral approaches regarding consumption of natural resources, adopting mitigation measures and limiting carbon emissions that can be done while pledging to reach net-zeroemission targets in every sector of life.
Pakistan has laborious recovered from COVID pandemic period and its cumbersome toll on the health sector with economic out lifts but once leached the country into the mud of environmental pollution as general public had remained dependent more on the utilization of high pricing fuel products that outcome into more carbon emissions even on halting of major industrial activities that have shown the deadly air quality venture for the locals of mega cities in the country with Lahore top the world in the ranking of most polluted cities in this scenario and now the heatwaves striking the South Asian countries including India and Pakistan again depicting the need of disseminating environmental awareness.
Thus, it is the necessity of time to focus on “Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature” a step that embraces all humanity to celebrate the “Only One Earth” theme of this year’s World Environment Day on June 5, 2022, hosted by Sweden in which Federal Minister for Climate change Sherry Rehmanon behalf of G77 and Chinawill address on achieving a healthy planet and prosperity for all in the Stockholm+50 plenary meeting. Pakistan is currently doing many efforts in this respect by conducting dialogues on national and internal levels, awareness walks, celebration events, promoting sustainable agriculture practices, creating massive olive production and its exports, constructing dams, green infrastructure development, institutions and industries transferring to solar energy sector scale, reforestation,check-up control methods for smoke emissions from brick kilns, factories, green taxing,banned the use of plastic in all mega cities, suburban with a scalable solution of utilizing dumping plastic waste to be used in the construction of roads with plastic- first time evident in Islamabad onAtaturk Avenue and scaling-up of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood risk reduction in Northern Pakistan(GLOF II) projectfor evaluating, mitigating possible risks through early warning, community based awareness, disaster management and infrastructure enhancement.According to the latest reports of Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) and UNDP,there is a huge possibility that country will soon reach to absolute water shortage by 2025 if no counter-measures opt since Pakistan is the fourth in the world in terms of its largest water usage rate and an ongoing intense heat wave has recently blown huge loss to ecosystem diversity of world’s largest Chilghoza forest in Koh-e-Sulaimanregion, Balochistan.
For this reason, economy and human well-being contingent on food, clean water, flood protection, erosion control, water conservation, rain harvesting, the drive for innovation, and more will ensure when government and business leaders have recognized the importance of green recovery, and their focus must be the path of climate action. As part of the restoration and environmental protection system, many countries have taken comprehensive measures to protect the environment in response to their COVID19 policies like Pakistan has been protecting human health through the provision of safe drinking water by the installation of filtration plants in all cities even meeting the needs of Cholistan, Thar inhabitants water supply, initiating employment programs in coordination of Provincial Environment departments and international programs that focused on ecosystem restoration, sustainable forest management, 10 billion tree tsunami project and control of threatened species hunting except allocating permitsto locals by Foreign ministry in previous government for organizing controlled hunting events only on a condition of playing a justifiable role in the conservation of wild species which in turn improvestheir lives and uplift the community development and concerned conservancy aspect.
Also, government has already takenabove mentioned various precautions to avoid the impending effects of climate change with subsequent sustainable development goals (goal- 13 Climate Action) and formulation of sustainable policies. Everyreligion also emphasizes the importance of environmental education.
Therefore, it is necessary to advance awareness campaigns through communication that would help in transforming the way how people demonstrate and sustainably work in most of the cities of Pakistan to cope severe environmental crises, encompassingkey economic and social establishment and green practices that solely depend on promoting multifaceted strategies to warrant environmental protection, and only then Pakistan will be able to move on the right path of ecosystem restoration.
A researcher and environmentalist who often writes on politics and environmental issues.
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