Pakistan is facing extreme threats of climate change nowadays. According to a study, Pakistan ranks on number seven among top ten global warming affected countries. Among these changes, the most prominent changes now-a-days are heat wave, water shortage and unsafe drinking water.
Due to excessive carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases (GHG's), deforestation, unplanned urbanization, population load, water shortage, lack of water storage reservoirs, shrinkage of winters, prolonged summers, increase in earth temperature, pollution, poor sanitation, no waste management system, unsafe drinking water, no waste water management system, electricity shortage and vehicle's load are the main causes of climate change and global warming in Pakistan.
Heat waves griped most of the cities of Pakistan during Summer 2018, which is an alarming situation. Sibbi, Jacobabad, Nawabshah, DI Khan, Mohenjo-Daro and Multan are the hottest places of Pakistan. According to PMD officials, the highest temperature (46°C) in Karachi was recorded in the month of May after 1981. During 2018, Nawabshah (Pakistan) soared to hottest April temperature ever (50.2°C) on Earth.
Water shortage is another major problem in Pakistan. Causes of water shortage are excessive waste of fresh drinking water, wastage of water for domestic purposes (lack of Awareness), no reservoirs to store the water of rivers and rain. Some cities of most populated province of Pakistan (Punjab) have been depleted in underground water by 90%. The remaining (10%) is not safe for health due to contamination of arsenic in high quantity. The sedimentation level of Tarbela and Mangla Dam is rising, which have decreased their water storage capacity and water is at dead level in both reservoirs. Decrease in overall water and rivers inflow will negatively affect the agriculture sector. Water availability for crop production will not satisfy the farmers and in turn production of major crops will be adversely affected. There is a threat to the sowing and production of major cereal crops (Wheat, Rice and Maize) under water scarcity. If the same situation persists, whole Pakistan can face the drought and starvation.
On one hand, politicians are busy in corruption and looting Pakistan and on the other hand, they are not enough educated to understand the global issues, nor they know the way to tackle the alarming problems. How one can expect that public representatives in assemblies will think about the future of Pakistan. It is expected that extreme drought conditions will be faced in near future in Pakistan. Can we expect that our politicians will agree to construct Kalabagh and other major dams? India has constructed so many dams, why not Pakistan?
If we look at the water availability per capita in Pakistan, it has depleted to a level of 1017 cubic meter tons which is too close to 1000 cubic meters (scarcity threshold). According to Nestle Karachi, per capita availability of water for people of Thar is not even to have a 100 tons.
Industries dump their waste in rivers and ocean, making the water unfit for marine as well as human life in Punjab and Sindh. Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa directed the Water Supply and Sanitation Services Peshawar (WSSP) to do proper arrangements for dumping waste along with the cleanliness of cities. WSSP has already identified six sites in Peshawar for the disposal of waste management and there is also a treatment plant for producing electricity out of the dumped solid waste in order to keep the rivers water safe.
The report of PCRWR’s premier project showed that the country’s water quality of 369 sources, 114 – 31pc – were safe while 255 – 70pc – unsafe compared to the National Standards for Drinking Water Quality. Major water quality tribulations were bacteria, arsenic, nitrate and fluoride which shows that 70-80% water sources of Pakistan are contaminated. According to a research, 39,000 children under five die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Pakistan. Most of the areas are converted into deserts due to lack of water e.g. Thar. Thousands of children died of no water and food.
It’s the time to take these issues seriously and a comprehensive strategy is needed in Pakistan to cope with the heat wave which is due to climate change and global warming. Water storage reservoirs should be built on emergency basis in which Kalabagh dam construction should be the top priority of government along with small dams. Safe water for drinking should be provided to each citizen of Pakistan by proper water management. Biotechnological tools should be introduced for crop production. Forestation is very much necessary to mitigate the heat wave and climate change. Projects like Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation (BTTAP) should be extended in each and every corner of all provinces of Pakistan. Voice for the construction of major reservoirs for water storage in order to reduce the threats being faced due to water scarcity.
We are fortunate to have Imran Khan as Prime Minister of Pakistan now. He has initiated projects under his 11 point agenda which will definitely mitigate the burning issues of Pakistan. In sha Allah.