Pollution kills 30,000 every year in Pakistan: moot told

KARACHI: Several political parties in their manifestos have not given priority to issues of environment conservation, sustainable development, energy saving, shrinking forests and future water scarcity despite the country is in grip of climate change dangers.

This was informed by President National Forum for Environment and Health NFEH, Mohammad Naeem Qureshi, while addressing a meeting of NGOs on political parties’ manifestos and sustainable development held in connection with Earth Day. The meeting was attended by Advisor to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries Attiqur Rehman and representatives of Development for Future, Women Health Organization, Ansari Foundation, HOPE, Helpline and other organizations.

Qureshi said that it was only Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf PTI which had incorporated climate change issue in its manifesto, while others had not given priority to these critical environment issues, which is the matter of great concern.

He said that in 1997, National Assembly passed environment conservation law after which environment ministries were formed in four provinces in which thousands of people were appointed. “During the last 16 years, state and foreign donors had provided billion of rupees funds but the problems of environment and sustainable development are still unresolved. So far only 16% industries have implemented environment laws in four provinces,” he observed.

Qureshi said that all environment ministers had not done any significant work during that period, while no improvement came after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment. NFEH chief said that former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on March 15, 2013 approved hacking of 4 million cubic feet forests in district Diamir of Gilgit Baltistan, which was against the government policy and international agreements.

He alleged that 108,569 acres of forest land along both banks of Indus River in Sindh had been encroached by influential persons, adding encroached land is in Shaheed Benazirabad, Kashmore, Khairpur, Thatta, Naushehro Feroze, Ghotki, Shikarpur, Jamshoro, Hyderabad, Larkana and Tando Mohammad Khan.

He told the participants that 90 percent of vehicles operating in four provinces are causing pollution and 80 percent water in these provinces is polluted, while 30,000 people die due to pollution every year in country. He said that country is facing climate change dangers, which would cause acute water and food shortages during next eight years.
On this occasion, participants asked all political parties to give priority to critical issues and pay attention towards them after formation of new government.