PESHAWAR   -   Emerged as a silent killer, the erratic weath­er variations by climate change have started posing serious threats to human beings, wild­life and aquatic resources in developing coun­tries including Pakistan due to its geograph­ical placement, emissions of hazards gases, deforestation and rapid population growth.

Losing about 27,000 hectares of forests per year especially in the community and private lands of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan has witnessed substantial changes in the weather patterns including untimely rainfall, increase in tem­perature, heat-waves, drought and floods in recent years causing an adverse effects on human life, wildlife and aquatic resources besides converting fertile lands into deserts affecting agriculture productivity.

According to National Forest Policy 2015, Pakistan has one of the lowest forest covers in the world where only five percent of its areas were under the green gold, and was losing about 27,000 hectares forests per year due to deforestation, urbanization and rapid population growth.

The yesterday’s flash floods at Shishi­koh valley in Lower Chitral and Balochistan that claimed many lives, destroyed standing crops and orchards besides irrigation and communication channels were apparently caused by the climate change.

The devastation of 2010 flood, worst drought during 1999-2003, cyclones in Ka­rachi and Gwadar coasts in 2008, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GOLFs) including Ata­bad Lake in Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral and July 28, 2021 flood in Islamabad, Murree’s snow­fall tragedy 2021 and human losses in recent floods in Balochistan have testified that Paki­stan was most vulnerable to climate change.

Muhammad Mumtaz Malik, former Chief Conservator Wildlife Department told APP that Pakistan was among 10 countries mostly vulnerable to climate change.

Terming climate change as a silent killer, he said it was converting fertile agricultural lands into deserts, drought, water scarcity and flash floods owing to the weather’s vul­nerabilities in the region.

He said thousands acres of lands barren caused by desertification and drought could be seen at Swabi and Mardan while travelling on Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway and Ko­hat, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Bannu and D I Khan districts while moving on Indus Highway.

The environmental and weather vari­ations were making an adverse effect on around 786 wildlife and biodiversity due to loss of their habitats and flora in the coun­try, he added. Former wildlife chief said cli­mate change had endangered about 90 dif­ferent wildlife species including Siberian crane, white backed vulture, long-billed vul­ture, red-headed vulture, saker, peregrine falcons, hawksbill sea turtle, Kashmir grey langur, Indus dolphin, finback whale, Ba­lochistan bear, musk deer, hog deer, pango­lin, Egyptian vulture, green turtle and nar­row-headed turtle