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70 years of looting

I am writing to highlight the environmental degradation that affecting the Pakistan economy.  It is estimated that damage cost of environmental degradation in Pakistan is at PKRs 346 billion per year. The country is decaying and dying as well as habitant including all living creatures (humans, animals, marine life, etc) over the time. There is need to address the issues step by step as we need major surgery to address the issues otherwise we will our DNA and our exports as well as resources will be affected beyond any thinking.

The plundering and degradation is affecting all living things in Pakistan and there is no fear of punishment / penalty on polluter’s and all is going on uncheck in all province especially in Sindh and KP. In these provinces, loss of land due to water salinity & water intrusion from sea while in KPK, massive deforestation has occurred and process is continuing.

There are many environmental degradations that is uncheck release of pollutant from road side shops, industries / factories especially medium / small scale, open burning of garbage & burning at dumping site, use of plastic in all sort forms, untreated discharge of effluent from cities sewerage and industries effluent into rivers / sea and no checks.

This is ongoing due to ineffective role of general public, local administration, lack of will, corruption and lack of trained staff.

Deforestation

Pakistan is forested about 2.5% or 1,902,000 hectares of Pakistan total land in 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Pakistan lost an average of 41,100 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.63%. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Pakistan lost 24.7% of its forest cover, or around 625,000 hectares.

Compare to Pakistan’s forest cover to India’s 20 percent and Bhutan’s 70 percent. 0.5 million hectares of fertile land in Thatta district alone (or 12% of the entire cultivated area of the province) is affected by sea intrusion.

The highest rate of deforestation has been found in the Indus delta mangroves depleted to 86,000 hectares in 2003 from 604,870 hectares in 1966. About 1300 hectares from 1992 to 2006 period. Disturbing fish catch especially palla fish from 1900 tons in 1980 to below 200 tons per year.

Salinity

Salinity on Sindh coast increased from 35 ppt to 45ppt in two decades. Water logging & salinity is remain major issues. Sindh is the most affected province. About 53 % of total irrigated area in Sindh. Causes crop loss of 31pc every year

Sewerage effluent

In Karachi, 472 MGD sewerage effluent generated in the city while untreated sewage is about 417 MGD which is 88% of total sewerage effluent which is drained and dumped in Arabian Sea untreated putting the marine life in serious danger and various kind of diseases.

Major factors responsible are: –

” Land degradation and deforestation

” Agricultural soil erosion

” Air pollution & health issues,

” Marine life pollution by dumping of untreated effluent from sewerage and industries.

However, at present no serious works carried out so far to indicate the impact of environmental degradation in Pakistan.

Looking Forward

o Engage on merit order the sincere people to help and tackle these issues.

o There is an urgent need to highlight and educate the all masses on impact of pollution through all media.

o Phase up banning of plastic in Pakistan. Please see what we were using in 60’s and 70’s. Implement first in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

o Implementation of environmental laws and strict monitoring & action by EPA for compliance.

o Use of remote sensing tools to identify the real loss with the help of research and universities.

o Reforestation on mass scale in all provinces with target.

o Use of public transport in all big cities as well as railway for goods transportation.

o Building effluent treatment plant at source for recycling of water as well as to stop dumping. No effluent to be dumped into river and sea at any cost.

o Drainage scheme for saline land and proper routing of drain water to sea after treatment

o Solid waste sorting, segregation/reuse and proper dumping.

o Integrated approach is required involving universities, Govt agencies, regulatory institutions to tackle the issue of environmental degradation.

Syed Sarfaraz Ahmed

Karachi

ssa1970@gmail.com

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