Pakistan is the eighth country most vulnerable to climate change in the world. The coastal areas are the most emergent threats and hundreds of kilometres area is susceptible to sea intrusion.
This was revealed by Karachi University institute of environmental studies registrar and professor Dr Moazzam Ali Khan during a climate conference on Monday. The event was organised by Youth Parliament.
“Rainfall on the coastal belt has decreased by 20%,” said Khan, adding that exotic species on the coast are also disappearing.
Addressing the young audience, journalist Afia Salam questioned them about their aspirations for future. While many expressed their desires to work in fields such as media, law and business, few to none hands were raised when agriculture and climate was brought into question.
Climate and environment issues are interlinked with all professions, claimed Salam. “We don’t have lawyers on water disputes in the country,” she said. “People here don’t understand it. Instead, we have to hire international lawyers when the local talent cannot fill up such roles.”
Reiterating Moazzam’s point, she said that in the last four years Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change has increased along with the shrinking of Indus Delta.
Environmental degradation does not only occur due to climate change, said Dr Aamir Alamgir, PhD on climate change. “A lot of the degradation can be avoided if actions are taken on time,” he said.
Balochistan Assembly speaker Raheela Hameed Durrani also questioned the government’s inability to prevent deterioration of the environment. A think tank should be formed that will focus on the climatic challenges faced by all four provinces of the country, she suggested.
“I welcome the youth to step out, we will provide you the opportunity to move forward with us,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2016.