Environmental issues in Pakistan | Wikipedia audio article


Environmental issues in Pakistan include deforestation,
air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, climate change, pesticide misuse, soil erosion,
natural disasters and desertification. These are serious environmental problems that Pakistan
is facing, and they are getting worse as the country’s economy expands and the population
grows. Little is being done to tackle these issues, because the goals of economic growth
and tackling terrorism within the country supersede the goals of environmental preservation.
Although NGOs and government departments have taken initiatives to stop environmental degradation,
Pakistan’s environmental issues still remain.==Economic consequences of environmental
degradation==The majority of Pakistan’s industrial sectors,
for example fishing and agriculture, which count for more than one fourth of the output
and two fifths of employment in Pakistan, are highly dependent on the country’s natural
resources. Hence in order to sustain economic growth there is a high demand on already scarce
natural resources. However it is ironic that what the country depends on for its growth
is also what threatens the future welfare and success of the country. According to the
World Bank, 70% of Pakistan’s population live in rural areas and are already stricken by
high poverty levels. These people depend on natural resources to provide income and tend
to overuse these resources. This leads to further degradation of the environment and
subsequently increases poverty. This has led to what the World Bank refers to as a “vicious
downward spiral of impoverishment and environmental degradation.”==Pollution==
The World Bank report in 2013 stated that Pakistan’s top environmental issues include
air pollution, inadequate supply of uncontaminated drinking water, noise pollution and the health
deterioration of urban and rural populations due to pollution. These environmental concerns
not only harm Pakistani citizens but also pose a serious threat to the country’s economy.
The report also stated that the increase in industrialization, urbanization and motorization
will inevitably worsen this problem.===Water pollution===Pakistan faces a major scarcity when it comes
to water resources, especially finding clean water. There is only one major river, the
Indus River, which supplies water throughout the agricultural plains in Punjab and in Sindh,
while the rest of the country has very little access to other fresh water. The scarcity
of water not only threatens Pakistan’s economy but also poses a serious threat to the lives
of millions of Pakistanis. The issue of water pollution further worsens
this problem for Pakistan. The sources for water pollution include the overuse of chemical
fertilizers, the dumping of industrial wastes into lakes and rivers, untreated sewage being
dumped into the ocean, and contaminated pipelines being used to transport water. The contamination
of fresh drinking water makes it harder for people to find clean water supplies and increases
the prevalence of waterborne diseases. Consequently, most of the reported health problems in Pakistan
are either a direct or indirect result of polluted water. 45% of infant deaths are due
to diarrhea and 60% to overall waterborne diseases.===Noise pollution===
The megacities of Pakistan, such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, face the
issue of noise pollution. The main source of this pollution is the traffic noise caused
by buses, cars, trucks, rickshaws and water tankers. A study showed that on one of Karachi’s
main roads, the average noise level was around 90 dB and was capable of reaching about 110
dB. This is much higher than the ISO’s noise level standard of 70 dB, which is not meant
to be harmful to the human ear. However, the study also concluded that in Pakistan, “the
traffic noise levels limit as laid down by National Environment Quality standards, Environmental
Protection Agency is 85 dB”.This high level of noise pollution can cause auditory and
non-auditory health issues. Auditory issues include the loss of auditory sensory cells;
non-auditory health issues include sleep disturbance, noise and cardiovascular disease, endocrine
response to noise and psychiatric disorder. There are very few, vague laws and policies
in regards to noise levels. There is no accountability, and while the federal and provincial environmental
protection agencies receive dozens of complaints on noise pollution from the public, these
agencies are unable to take action due to legal constraints and the absence of national
noise level standards.===Air pollution===
Air pollution is a growing environmental problem day by day
in Karachi, especially in the large metropolises. According to a World Bank report, “Karachi’s
urban air pollution is among the most severe in the world and it engenders significant
damages to human health and the economy”The inefficient use of energy, an increase in
the number of vehicles used daily, an increase in unregulated industrial emissions and the
burning of garbage and plastic have contributed the most to air pollution in urban areas.
According to a recent study, Karachi’s Environment Protection Department claims that the average
level of pollution in big cities is approximately four times higher than the World Health Organisation’s
limits. These emissions have detrimental effects, including “respiratory diseases, reduced visibility,
loss of vegetation and an effect on the growth of plants.”
One of the greatest contributors to air pollution is industrial activity. The inadequate air
emission treatments and lack of regulatory control over industrial activity has contributed
to the deterioration of ambient air quality in major cities. In addition, the common practice
of burning massive amounts of solid waste, including plastic and rubber, on street corners
by the public, releases toxic gases, which are extremely harmful for residents in the
area. In 2018, a young entrepreneur in Karachi,
Abid Omar, launched the Pakistan Air Quality Initiative to monitor air quality in Pakistan’s
big cities. The project aims to increase the availability of air quality data in Pakistan
and make citizens more aware of the health impacts of air pollution.==Climate change==Climate change has affected the people and
the environment of Pakistan in different ways. Although Pakistan is a relatively small emitter
of greenhouse gas as compared to other countries, the country will, however, be greatly affected
by the negative impacts of climate change. According to the Pakistan Economic Survey
of 2014-15, the “increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events coupled
with erratic monsoon rains causing frequent and intense floods and droughts” are the most
prominent problems Pakistan will face due to climate change. The survey concluded that
the change in weather patterns has destroyed infrastructures, has taken many lives and
has had devastating impacts on the agriculture sector, which has in turn has affected Pakistan’s
economy. According to the BBC Climate Asia report,
the majority of the Pakistani people surveyed claimed that climate change has heavily impacted
their lives in the form of floods and droughts, and most importantly has affected the availability
of resources such as energy and water. 53% of Pakistanis felt that their lives had become
worse off than they were five years ago. Although the effects of climate change are evident,
the survey found that the majority of the people were unaware of the meaning of climate
change, and “ascribed changes in climate and extreme weather events to the will of God.”==Natural disasters==Due to Pakistan’s diverse land and climatic
conditions, it is prone to different forms of natural disasters, including earthquakes,
floods, tsunamis, droughts, cyclones and hurricanes. A disaster management report claims that the
provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Balochistan and AJK are vulnerable seismic regions and
hence highly susceptible to earthquakes, while Sindh and Punjab constantly suffer from floods
because they are low-lying areas.Some of the worst natural disasters that Pakistan has
faced include the 1935 Quetta earthquake when around 60,000 people were killed, the 1950
floods when an estimated 2900 people died and 900,000 people were left homeless, the
1974 Hunza earthquake where around 5300 people were killed, the 2005 Kashmir quake that killed
at least 73,000 and affected more than 1.5 million people, and the Pakistan floods of
2010 where 20 million people were affected.==Conservation efforts==The government has expressed concern about
environmental threats to economic growth and social development and since the early 1990s
has addressed environmental concerns with new legislation and institutions such as the
Pakistan Environment Protection Council. However, foreign lenders provide most environmental
protection funds, and only 0.04 percent of the government’s development budget goes to
environmental protection. Thus, the government’s ability to enforce environmental regulations
is limited, and private industries often lack the funds to meet environmental standards
established by international trade organizations. Government of Pakistan start new compagin
with Clean and Green Pakistan to over come environmental issues.===Billion Tree Tsunami===
The Billion Tree Tsunami was launched in 2014, by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK),
Pakistan, as a response to the challenge of global warming. Pakistan’s Billion Tree
Tsunami restores 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land to surpass its Bonn Challenge
commitment. The project aimed at improving the ecosystems of classified forests, as well
as privately owned waste and farm lands, and therefore entails working in close collaboration
with concerned communities and stakeholders to ensure their meaningful participation through
effectuating project promotion and extension services. In just a year it has added three-quarters
of a billion new trees, as part of a “tree tsunami” aimed at reversing worsening forest
loss. The projected was completed in August 2017, ahead of schedule.This remarkable initiative
has been highly acknowledged by international media namely Washington Post, VOA News, The
Hindu, REUTERS, AlJazeera and many others. Short fim like “Green Election Compagin” and
” Stop ” is a part of Cean Green Pakistan Effort.===National Conservation Strategy===
The National Conservation Strategy Report has three explicit objectives: conservation
of natural resources, promotion of sustainable development, and improvement of efficiency
in the use and management of resources. It sees itself as a “call for action” addressed
to central and provincial governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local
communities, and individuals. The primary agricultural nonpoint source pollutants
are nutrients (particularly nitrogen and phosphorus), sediment, animal wastes, pesticides, and salts.
Agricultural nonpoint sources enter surface water through direct surface runoff or through
seepage to ground water that discharges to a surface water outlet. Various farming activities
result in the erosion of soil particles. The sediment produced by erosion can damage fish
habitat and wetlands, and often transports excess agricultural chemicals resulting in
contaminated runoff. This runoff, in turn, affects changes to aquatic habitat such as
temperature increases and decreased oxygen. The most common sources of excess nutrients
in surface water from nonpoint sources are chemical fertilizers and manure from animal
facilities. Such nutrients cause eutrophication in surface water. Pesticides used for pest
control in agricultural operations can also contaminate surface as well as ground-water
resources. Return flows, runoff, and leach ate from irrigated lands may transport sediment,
nutrients, salts, and other materials. Finally, improper grazing practices in riparian areas,
as well as upland areas, can also cause water quality degradation. The development of Pakistan
is viewed as a multigenerational enterprise. In seeking to transform attitudes and practices,
the National Conservation Strategy recognizes that two key changes in values are needed:
the restoration of the conservation ethic derived from Islamic moral values, called
Qantas, and the revival of community spirit and responsibility, Haqooq ul Ibad.
The National Conservation Strategy Report recommends fourteen program areas for priority
implementation: maintaining soils in croplands, increasing efficiency of irrigation, protecting
watersheds, supporting forestry and plantations, restoring rangelands and improving livestock,
protecting water bodies and sustaining fisheries, conserving biodiversity, increasing energy
efficiency, developing and deploying renewable resources, preventing or decreasing pollution,
managing urban wastes, supporting institutions to manage common resources, integrating population
and environmental programs, and preserving the cultural heritage. It identifies sixty-eight
specific programs in these areas, each with a long-term goal and expected outputs and
physical investments required within ten years. Special attention has been paid to the potential
roles of environmental NGOs, women’s organizations, and international NGOs in working with the
government in its conservation efforts. Recommendations from the National Conservation Strategy Report
are incorporated in the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1993–98).
In a recent study conducted by the Global CLEAN campaign, it was found that the average
temperature in Pakistan had risen by .2 degrees in only two years, This is a dramatic change
and puts emphasis on climate change campaigns. Land use Arable land – 27%
Permanent crops – 1% Permanent pastures – 6%
Forests and woodland – 5% Other – 61% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land – 171,100 km² (1993 est.)===
Protected areas===Pakistan has 14 national parks, 72 wildlife
sanctuaries, 66 game reserves, 9 marine and littoral protected areas, 19 protected wetlands
and a number of other protected grasslands, shrublands, woodlands and natural monuments.====International agreements====
Pakistan is a party to several international agreements related to environment and climate.
The most prominent among them are:==See also==
Geography of Pakistan Protected areas of Pakistan
Health care in Pakistan Wildlife of Pakistan
Environmental issues in Siachen List of environmental issues
Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency

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