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 to an 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 home of more than 7000 glaciers, especially in the northern regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Glaciers are melting rapidly in South Asia and this 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 a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood. Such flooding has not only posed damage to the local community but also continues to spell disaster for Pakistan’s long-term issue of water scarcity.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kyrgyzstan and central Asian countries are coming to face the worst drought conditions because of too little water availability, dryness and record low precipitation. Similarly, the Sindh government reported to IRSA that the severe water crisis hit the province and demanded 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. 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-zero emission targets in every sector of life.

Pakistan has laborious recovered from the covid-19 pandemic period and its cumbersome toll on the health sector with economic effects, but the country remained in the mud of environmental pollution as general public had remained dependent more on the utilization of high-priced fuel products that lead to more carbon emissions even on the halting of major industrial activities that have shown the deadly air quality venture for the locals of mega cities in the country with Lahore topping the world in the ranking of most polluted cities in this scenario, and now the heat waves striking the South Asian countries including India and Pakistan again depicting the need of disseminating environmental awareness.

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 with severe environmental crises, encompassing key 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. 

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 Rehman on behalf of G77 and China addressed on achieving a healthy planet and prosperity for all in the Stockholm+50 plenary meeting.

Pakistan is currently making 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, reforestation, check-up control methods for smoke emissions from brick kilns, factories, green taxing, banned the use of plastic in all mega cities, suburban development with a scalable solution of utilizing dumping plastic waste in the construction of roads with plastic- first time evident in Islamabad on Ataturk Avenue, and scaling-up of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood risk reduction in Northern Pakistan (GLOF II) project, for 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 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 caused huge loss to the ecosystem diversity of the world’s largest Chilghoza forest in Koh-e-Sulaiman region, Balochistan.

For this reason, the economy and human well-being are  contingent on food, clean water, flood protection, erosion control, water conservation, rain harvesting, and 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 covid-19 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 with provincial environment departments and international programmes that focused on ecosystem restoration, sustainable forest management, the 10-billion-tree tsunami project and control of threatened species hunting by allocating permits to 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 improves their lives and uplift the community development and concerned conservancy aspect.

Also, the government has already taken the abovementioned various precautions to avoid the impending effects of climate change with subsequent sustainable development goals (goal- 13 Climate Action) and formulation of sustainable policies. Every religion 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 with severe environmental crises, encompassing key 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.

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