The global climate crisis has generated a lot of threats to the general well-being of citizens of Pakistan in terms of health and environment. Pakistan has been ranked in the top 10 countries affected by the climate change in the 20th century. Pakistan over the years, has been facing many natural hazards related to the weather because to its geographic conditions and continental climate. According to the global climate risk index, Pakistan has suffered 141 climate-caused extreme incidents in the last 2 decades that resulted in 500 causalities per year.It has experienced recurring heatwaves, floods, landslides, and droughts.
Heatwave is a major of these. In the 20th century, the warming in Pakistan was estimated to be at 0.57 degrees C but has recently increased to 0.47 degrees C. By 2040 an increase in the average temperature of 0.5 degrees C is expected. Heatwaves have the potential to affect the mental, as well as physical health of people. Heatwaves, cause exhaustion, malnutrition, and premature births.
Earlier in the month, in Jacobabad, Sindh Province, temperature surpassed 52 degrees C and was termed as “Too hot for human tolerance”. The experts say if this temperature persists for more than a few hours, it could result in “organ failure” or even death. Moreover, over 2000 people were killed in Karachi due to major heatwaves.
If major steps and precautions are not taken, the number of deaths and people getting affected by this will increase causing a great human tragedy. One of the major causes of this is deforestation. When trees are cut down, much of the stored carbon is released into the air making it a major contributing factor to global warming. Different NGOs and social workers must start campaigns for planting trees in different areas. New parks should be developed. In Islamabad, CDA should make it compulsory for housing societies to plant trees. Inside the colonies, construction areas should be limited and more space should be given to green belts.
Air pollutants cause the climate to be warmer. The recent increase in gas pollution traps excessive heat and causes the climate to warm. Land pollution causes warmth in temperature. It is important to give proper awareness to people about life style. By changing living conditions, they can contribute a lot to nature, the first step is to follow the simple rule of reducing, reusing, repairing, and recycling. People should be educated not to create waste. Secondly, should be taught to reuse this stuff. Thirdly, before throwing anything, it is important to repair it. Last but not least, they should learn to recycle the waste material. For this,awareness campaigns can be a great initiative to increase people’s knowledge and to take meaningful steps against these natural hazards.
Climate change has been a major issue in Pakistan which is sadly not addressed as it should be over the years. People have suffered a lot due to these changes. It is a great demand of time that campaigns should be launched and steps should be taken in this regard.
(The writer is student of Media Studies at Bahria University, Islamabad)