By Dr. Saeed Ahmed Ali
LAHORE, (APP):An APP Feature Varied and intense climate change patterns can cause irregular devastating events in the country including floods, heat-waves, droughts, deforestation, storms, de-gradation of air quality and worsening situation of food.
Experts believe that all these changes can cause various complex diseases. Extreme weather conditions like rising temperatures, sudden heat-waves and irregular pattern of rains are main factors behind spread of such diseases, they say.
The major socio-communal areas being affected by climate change include human health, civic services, water-related infrastructure and hydropower generation. These special conditions have created a global inter-dependence, which has imbalanced the nexus among the factors including water, food and energy supplies to the communities around the globe.
Talking to APP, Punjab Environment Protection Department (PEPD) Deputy Director Misbah-ul-Haq Khan Lodhi said that in Pakistan, increasing hot climate, changing patterns of snowmelt, rise in sea level and precipitation are exerting enormous impact on natural resources.
Misbah said that global warming and climate change issues were causing fast glacial melting in Pakistan’s Northern areas which, he added, could cause a 60 per cent shortage in water, affecting energy and agriculture security.
According to the 2018 Global Climate Risk Index report, released by the public policy group, Germaneatch, Pakistan is amongst the top 10 countries affected the most by climate change.
Renowned Environmentalist Dr Mehmood Khalid Qamar told APP that environmental hazards were seriously affecting Pakistan’s deltaic area, which is likely to expose more than 2.5 million people to water scarcity, rising sea level effects and food insecurity. He said that communities residing at up the sea level are under the threat of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), which also is a major climate-related threat being faced by Pakistan currently. He said that presently, glacial melting was among major global warming-induced risks Pakistan was grappled with.
Qamar said that due to rise in temperatures, Pak coastal regions mangroves are vanishing rapidly and the saline-water forests are on the verge of extinction. He further said that glacial streams, which all eventually feed 3,500-kilometre-long mighty Indus River, clearly indicate that the country’s glaciers were melting rapidly.
He said that temperatures in most of the mountainous valleys never used to go beyond 30 degree Celsius during summers, but those are surpassing 40 degree Celsius nowadays.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) country representative, Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, said that climate change had posed serious challenges to Pakistan’s social, economic and ecological systems, where vast population still depend on predominantly agriculture-based rural economies.
He observed that rural areas in Pakistan were particularly hard hit by the climate change.
Cheema said various studies showed that steadily rising temperatures were posing a serious risk to country’s efforts for achieving sustainable food security.
“We should make more investments in the remote and barren areas to increase the forest cover and involve institutions and students more in plantation drives, Cheema added.
Former director of World Wide Fund for Conservation of Nature (WWF) Dr Ijaz said that climate suitability of crops needs to be considered before planning cultivation to obtain optimum yields. Farming community was persuaded to use modern methods of cultivation in the areas which were prone to climate change, he said, adding that increased application of biotechnology innovations can allow farming of carbon absorbing crops and seeds.
In fact, global warming throughout the world is being caused by emission of greenhouse gases, as these are the major constituent, playing a vital role in creation of global warming. An official at the Pakistan Council of Scientific Industrial Research (PCSIR), while giving the break-up of composition of greenhouse gases, said that almost 72% of carbon dioxide (CO2),18% of methane and 9% of nitro-oxide consist of totally omitted greenhouse gases in the air.
Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) sources told APP that the centre was providing recommendations to the government to help launch more tree plantation campaigns and address the climate change and global warming challenges, affecting Pakistan’s development.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) sources said that the incumbent coalition government, led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), had planted millions of saplings under the Green Pakistan initiative.
The sources said that teachers, students and all segments of society were being motivated to play their part in the plantation campaigns.
Talking to APP, they expressed the hope that the “Ten Billion Tree” initiative of the PTI government would help combat the effects of climate change during the next five years.
“There is a dire need to adopt measures on war-footing to create awareness among the farming community about the impact of climate change,” Deputy Director Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) Muhammad Saleem Shaikh said.
The ministry had directed the provinces to take steps to cope with the impact of climate change, particularly the agriculture and livestock sectors.