Climate Change: Damocles sword on Pakistan

Tamour Ali
With a population of more than 220 million, most of whom are uneducated and illiterate, Is Pakistan ready to deal with the looming threat of climate change? It is the biggest threat to the world in the contemporary period, and without having knowledge and awareness of this danger, it would be hardly possible to counter this threat. Unfortunately, Pakistan is one of those countries which have been most negatively affected by climate change. It is located near those countries which are chimneys of Green Houses Gases Emissions namely, China and India. As the report published by an independent climate watchdog, Pakistan is ranked at 8th place in the worst climate-affected countries. That’s why Pakistan is witnessing horrendous fallouts of erratic weather patterns in the form of floods, droughts, desertification, and intense heat waves.Most importantly, agriculture has been the backbone of Pakistan’s economy since its inception. Nearly, 70 percent of Pakistan’s informal sector economy is affiliated with agricultural activities. In the 1950s agricultural sector contributed to 60 percent of the country’s GDP growth. And, currently, its proportion is declined up to 24 percent of GDP growth. It is mainly due to adverse implications of global warming on crops production, agricultural yield and soil strata.Apart from that, the larger cities of Pakistan have been badly damaged by the rising temperature of the world. There is more air, water, land and noise pollution as compared to past periods. Karachi is witnessing deaths of people due to intense heat waves and air pollution. Likewise, Lahore has an issue of smog which causes many cardiovascular problems and skin diseases. It is also one of the reasons for traffic accidents, especially during winter seasons. The death toll has been enhanced due to air pollution in Pakistan. Significantly, no one can deny the importance of water in life. It is a vital component of life on earth. Plants, animals and aquatic species require fresh, clean and pure water for their daily metabolic activities. However, the quality and access to water have been diminished due to climate change. Pakistan is a water-stressed country. According to the World Bank report, nearly 90 percent people of Pakistan have no access to clean and pure water. Mostly, dependence is upon THE INDUS WATER SYSTEM, whose 80 percent of water comes from Himalaya glaciers. It is predicted that Himalaya glaciers will be depleted by the end of 2035. It is an alarming situation for the access to water in akistan. Undoubtedly, Pakistan has done a remarkable job to mitigate climate change. It has opened eco-industrial parks, restored national parks and rehabilitated ecosystem through policies like Billion Tree Tsunami and Miyawaki technique. It also hosted World’s Environmental Day on 5th June, 2021, because of its laudable efforts for climate change mitigation. Indeed, Pakistan has adopted climate-friendly policies at the government level. Moreover, there are a lot of areas that still need to be given attention. Energy sector is one of them. There is a dire need to transfer fossil fuel energy projects such as coal and petroleum towards alternative and renewable sources of energy. Pakistan has the potential to produce energy through solar and wind resources. Likewise, it is necessary to install electric and hybrid cars in Pakistan. Automobile industry has seen a boom in Pakistan in recent years. Multiple car companies have invested in Pakistan and there is a surge in the purchase and sale of vehicles. Ergo, it is pertinent to follow up Green Energy plan of 2030 for Pakistan in true letter and spirit.Although, the government has taken initiatives for climate change adaptation and mitigation, yet at the individual level there is still a requirement for climate change literacy. A common person doesn’t take this issue as a serious threat that can harm or affect him. He considers it a cock and bull story. That’s why he lacks in doing sincere efforts to preclude this danger. By adopting public transport for traveling, switching off the room lights in the presence of sunlight, and disposing of the waste material properly, one can participate in the global efforts for climate change mitigation. It is high time to educate people about this Damocles sword of climate change through mass and social media. To sum up, a country like Pakistan which has been embedded in so many problems-for instances, a fragile economy and polarized politics, cannot afford to abandon the daunting challenge of Global Warming. If it would not tackle this issue proactively and collectively, a dream of Pakistan becoming an Asian Tiger will remain a pipe-dream. So, it is need of an hour to educate people about this menace.

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