Climate Change And Pakistan: Alarming Impacts Of Global Warming Call For Our Action
The fire breakout at Margalla Hills Islamabad, Pakistan on 27th May, 2021 was an eye opener. According to official reports, the fire broke out around 3:30pm on military farmland of Margalla Hills, which was controlled at around 8pm.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates 2.2% of the total land of Pakistan is covered by forests. On the contrary, Pakistan Forest Institute estimates it to be 5.1%. According to the survey done under the Red Plus programme in 2017, the forest cover of Pakistan is 5.7%. Due to urbanization and industrialization, Pakistan faces immense problems of deforestation and forest degradation. More or less five percent of its total area is under forests. The rate of deforestation of 1.5% is very high and alarming. The most adverse impacts of deforestation in Pakistan are flooding, climatic changes, landsliding, land degradation, soil erosion and desertification
Not any other challenge is as threatening as climate change is. Climate change affects ecosystems, agriculture, environment, biodiversity, health, economy and what not? As to talk about Pakistan, the impact is highly severe as evident from these frequent occurrences: melting of glaciers like that of Himalayan range glaciers at a rate faster than ever recorded in history, abrupt rainfalls, earthquakes, unpredictable flooding, varying temperatures, droughts, storms, pest diseases, intense heat waves like in Karachi, and saturation of lakes, etc.
As a result, all of these factors have devastating outcomes for mankind, animals and nature alike. Animal habitation, human communities, ocean, lands, and forests are at high risk.
Since Pakistan is dependent on agriculture and farming, the varying temperatures and unpredictable weather – extreme winters, summers – played a terribly higher role in poverty inflation. Thus, on the economy of Pakistan, climate change has its dark shadows pushing the impoverished to margins. Moreover, extreme weather conditions have been a major contributor to food, water and health insecurity. The pandemics, water borne diseases, and the diseases transmitted by insects and rodents are also trapping Pakistan. Erosion in coastal areas is a menace and wildfires yet another one.
The impact of earthquakes, storms and floods – products of climate change – has been no less than a catastrophe for the people of Pakistan over the years. Pakistan is still a developing country and its reach to alternative and renewable energy is far more limited. Meanwhile, there is an immense potential to generate solar and wind power. The possibilities for renewable energy technologies to bridge the gap between energy supply and demand are worthy to be considered. Renewable energy is the future– so as to improve energy security, and to provide socioeconomic benefits, thereby reducing pollution and mitigating climate change.
Vulnerability to climate change is related with weather changes that can be checked. In order to improve the situation, government’s interference is crucial for sustainable development of Pakistan through strict accountability of resource management and regulation, enforcement of environmental laws, and effective policies.
On individual level, planting trees, cutting down on consumption and waste, recycling, protecting greenhouse spaces, and staying active to create awareness for climate change mitigation would help. For the sake of our environment, if we join hands as citizens and support all stakeholders like Metro corporation Islamabad, Capital Development Authority, District administration, Emergency and Disaster Management, the ministry of climate change and others, we could help preventing the planet in general and Pakistan in particular from extreme impacts of global warming.