Sharmila asks Karachiites to raise more trees to counter future heatwaves

KARACHI: Sindh’s Culture and Tourism Minister Ms Sharmila Farooqui said on Sunday asked civil society to keep environment of their surroundings clean and green so as to ensure healthy life that will ultimately boost socio-economic stability.

“People should raise more and more trees at houses, open grounds and fields so as to lessen the impact of warming in Karachi. Recently Karachi faced severe heatwave that took many human lives, hence, it is the need of the hour that all people and organizations should ensure mass tree plantation in the city along with government’s ongoing tree plantation drives in this regard,’ she said while talking to PPI..

She said: Better environment and healthy life contribute to the improvement of human welfare and economic growth. Sindh government is commitment to boost environment conservation and protection in all sectors of life. Environment cleanliness and conservation starts from home to streets and then other places; therefore, people need to keep their houses and streets clean and green. Sustainable use of resources and environmental concern has become increasingly important for all, and everyone has to play its role in this regard.

Sharmila said events like increased glacier melt, global warming, extreme floods and droughts are already hitting the country and will continue in the future; therefore, it is the need of the hour that people should be aware of all environmental threats, and encourage government efforts to tackle such threats.

She informed: The melting of Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayan glaciers due to global warming and carbon soot deposits from trans-boundary pollution sources will threaten water inflows into Indus River System. Overall changes in the weather system may cause decrease in the already scanty forest cover due to rapid change in climatic conditions to allow natural migration of adversely affected plant species. Intrusion of saline water in the Indus delta will also adversely affect coastal agriculture, mangroves and breeding grounds of fish.

The provincial minister said the provincial government has undertaken several projects and programs at many levels for environmental conservation and cleanliness. These projects and programs are under implementation with focus on areas of capacity building, clean drinking water, environmental management, biodiversity, air pollution control and watershed management, urban development, restoration of lakes/ water bodies, environmental awareness, waste management, wetlands etc.

She said that seasonal tree planting in spring and monsoon is a regular function of provincial forest departments; other concerned federal and provincial departments, non-governmental organizations and general public are also motivated to participate in national tree planting drives. Climate change is a big issue facing Pakistan and other countries of the world. However, government is fully determined to tackle climate change issue at all levels. It is inflicting huge losses to human life and property. It is also causing additional stress on the sustainability and access to natural resources both for the present and more importantly for the future generations. The actions to address climate change should ensure the sustainable development and sustained economic growth of the developing countries and the universal elimination of poverty, hunger and disease, Sharmila said.

Referring to a report, she said: Pakistan’s greenhouse gas emissions are low compared developing countries. The green house gases cause global warming and also leave impact on Pakistan. Climate change has raised temperature in Sindh during the last 31 years that affects its agriculture productivity and socio-economic conditions. The average temperature in Badin, Thatta, and Dadu has gone up during the last 31 years. In Badin district, mean maximum temperature during the three decades showed an increasing trend. The rate of increase remained 0.029 degree centigrade per year. The mean minimum temperature also showed an increasing trend, with the increasing rate of 0.028 degree centigrade. However, there was decreasing trend of rainfalls during the past 31 years.

She said the government recognizes the importance of environmental concerns and taking strategic adaptation measures at the policy management and operational level to ensure energy security, food security and water security to face the challenges of climate change. In this regard, private sector is also required to play a more active role by making environmental investment, innovations and incorporation of environmental considerations in their operation. Significant initiatives are being taken in collaboration with developed countries to counter the issues of climate change, it is therefore, necessary that developed countries should also honor their climate fund pledges as with inadequate resources, developing countries cannot effectively combat the adverse impacts of climate change, Sharmila concluded.

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