KARACHI: Even though the province has been witnessing drastic effects of climate change, the Sindh government does not seem to be bothered about the environment at all, as the allocation for environment, climate change and coastal development in this year’s provincial budget is a mere Rs400 million.
This makes up only 0.11% of the Annual Development Programme’s total of Rs344 billion.
Interestingly, the budget for the next fiscal year of 2017-18 was announced by the chief minister on World Environment Day.
In Sindh’s last budget before the general elections of 2018, there has been a decrease of 12% in the budget for environment.
In 2016-17’s budget, a total of Rs455m was allocated for environment and coastal development, where Rs155m was for environmental development and Rs300m for coastal development.
A sum of Rs55m has been decreased and in the upcoming fiscal year Rs137m has been allocated for environmental development and Rs263m for coastal development.
There have been no new schemes added in the budget for environment. In fact, all the previously approved projects from 2012 to 2016 have yet to be completed.
The same situation can be seen in coastal development, where there are no additional schemes for the upcoming year. An important project, which is present in the current budget as a new scheme, relating to the study of sea intrusion impacts has yet to be approved.
Ecologist and environmentalist Rafiul Haq while talking to The Express Tribune, shared that every year’s budget shows the government’s intentions.
“By allocating peanuts for the environment, it is clear that the provincial government is not moved by climate change, warm temperatures and the rising sea level,” lamented Haq.
The government seems to be confused over its policies for climate change, which is why they have not announced any significant project for environment, he believed. The government’s only concern is cosmetic development and nothing fruitful or long-lasting, he added.