Natural resources are becoming more extinct in Pakistan: moot told

KARACHI: hectares. All in all, Pakistan ends up losing 365 billion 6% of GDP annually because of environmental degradation. He termed weak Environmental Governance as a key to all problems, especially since Environmental Impact Assessment EIA is not being implemented properly in the planning and development of projects. Also, there is no use of Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA in policy and planning formulation.

Malik Amin Aslam from PTI talked about how the policies exist, but there is a lack of political ownership to implement them. Unless, the people of Pakistan consider environmental degradation as its own loss, things will not improve. According to him environmental right should be the basic human right in the constitution i.e. the right to clean air and clean water. He said that Pakistan is bestowed to be one of the very few countries that have 10 ecological zones, what we really need is awareness and environmental education that should be part of curriculum from primary school level up to the college level. He talked about the recent development in England where 1 million jobs have been via green economy. He said that unless economic evaluation of environmental degradation is not done, the country would not realize what it is losing out on.

Syed Zafar Ali Shah from PMLN talked about why environment hasn’t taken as much importance on the national level as it should have had. It should have been discussed in the parliament, but unfortunately we tend to ignore such issues. Mr. Waqas Ahmad from Jamat –e-Islami cited the example of Madina as a welfare city since the time of Prophet PBUH and talked about how biodiversity and animal rights were considered equally important along with other social reforms.

Dr. Pervaiz Naim, stressed time and again that hectares. All in all, Pakistan ends up losing 365 billion 6% of GDP annually because of environmental degradation. He termed weak Environmental Governance as a key to all problems, especially since Environmental Impact Assessment EIA is not being implemented properly in the planning and development of projects. Also, there is no use of Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA in policy and planning formulation.

Malik Amin Aslam from PTI talked about how the policies exist, but there is a lack of political ownership to implement them. Unless, the people of Pakistan consider environmental degradation as its own loss, things will not improve. According to him environmental right should be the basic human right in the constitution i.e. the right to clean air and clean water. He said that Pakistan is bestowed to be one of the very few countries that have 10 ecological zones, what we really need is awareness and environmental education that should be part of curriculum from primary school level up to the college level. He talked about the recent development in England where 1 million jobs have been via green economy. He said that unless economic evaluation of environmental degradation is not done, the country would not realize what it is losing out on.

Syed Zafar Ali Shah from PMLN talked about why environment hasn’t taken as much importance on the national level as it should have had. It should have been discussed in the parliament, but unfortunately we tend to ignore such issues. Mr. Waqas Ahmad from Jamat –e-Islami cited the example of Madina as a welfare city since the time of Prophet PBUH and talked about how biodiversity and animal rights were considered equally important along with other social reforms.

Dr. Pervaiz Naim, stressed time and again that environment should be integrated into all planning and development and we shouldn’t find solutions to mitigate environmental issues afterwards. He said that if one keeps on talking about environment as a separate subject, it will never materialize into anything substantial, hence there is a need to understand environment as a cross cutting theme.

Dr. Shahid Ahmad talked about how natural resources are becoming more and more extinct in Pakistan. He cited the example of the beautiful hill station of Murree where people had access to fresh spring water in the 60s but how the same water is not drinkable any more. The need of the day is environmental activism on behalf of the Government, on behalf of the civil society as well as the environmental organizations, which can play their part in organizing consistent civil society dialogues.

Dr. Aashiq Ahmed also lamented about the rapid loss of natural resources. He mentioned illegal hunting in the national parks of Pakistan as an example. He suggested that since most of our natural resources are in the areas governed by the military and paramilitary forces, and they can be entrusted for its protection.

Mr. Javed Iqbal from Dunya TV talked about how environment used to be an agenda item on state television several years ago, as well as in the academia but that’s no longer the case. He talked about how the work is often overlooked on a micro level which is equally important along with policy reforms. Faisal Rahman from PTV also talked about handling things on a small level and stressed on the power of an individual.

Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema stated that in the current scenario the question of environment can no longer stay on the sidelines, instead it has become an issue of survival for Pakistan.

Summing up the session Syed Talat Hussain instilled a sense of hope amongst the participants by talking about how the hall slowly but steadily filled up and people chose to stay till the end, which is a great metaphor for environmental activism. He added that developing environmental language is also the need of the hour. It is important to make it easy for the people to understand the environmental issues, to be able to influence our target audience. He added that the power of media, especially social media, to mobilizing larger organizations should be tapped into. He also stressed on the need for civil society activism in this regard.

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