Pakistan urgently needs to address climate change. The country is highly vulnerable to climate variations, with significant environmental and societal impacts, mirroring trends seen across South Asia. The melting Himalayan glaciers have disrupted crucial rivers, intensifying heat, droughts, and extreme weather in certain regions. In a ranking of nations affected by climate-induced extreme weather (1999-2018), Pakistan claimed the fifth spot. The region faces various natural disasters, including cyclones, floods, droughts, and earthquakes. The catastrophic floods in 2022, linked to climate change, devastated infrastructure, displacing many and causing substantial loss of life.
In May 2022, Pakistan experienced a severe heatwave, with temperatures soaring to 51°C—an event 100 times more likely due to climate change. The Lahore High Court’s recent decision to close educational institutions on Saturdays aligns with the provincial government’s efforts, making face masks mandatory in smog-affected districts. Both measures highlight a collective acknowledgment of the severity of environmental challenges, especially as Lahore consistently ranks among the world’s most polluted cities.
The court’s proactive stance, emphasising work-from-home arrangements and scrutinising government and industrial units, reflects a comprehensive approach to combating the multifaceted impacts of environmental degradation. Collaborative efforts are crucial, and this commitment is essential for safeguarding citizens. Pakistan’s continuous vulnerability to climate change exacerbates existing challenges, potentially triggering a disastrous outcome, particularly when combined with political unrest and economic instability. The BBC Climate Asia survey underscores that a majority of Pakistanis recognize the adverse effects of climate change on floods, droughts, and resource availability. Urgent reforms, encompassing sustainable technology, scientific advancements, and behavioural shifts, are necessary for mitigating environmental impact. The reduction of fossil fuel dependency with cleaner energy sources is vital. Governments must lead by example, committing to uphold international agreements for effective reform. In the agricultural sector, climate factors significantly impact wheat production. Rainfall, sowing time, and temperature directly influence yield and quality. By adopting sustainable farming practices and promoting climate-smart agriculture, Pakistan can mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture, ensuring a sustainable future.
ENGR. YAQOOB ALI BALOCH,