One expects that an agricultural university would have some concern towards protecting our natural habitat. Contrarily, the Sindh Agricultural University (SAU) has lost substantial credibility as an environmentally-conscious institution. Despite continued industrialisation in Sindh province — particularly given SAU’s proximity to Hyderabad, a city that has expanded in recent years in the direction of industrialisation — the SAU administration chose to cut down 50 precious trees. SAU is located in Tando Jam and even this rural area was not spared the wrath of modernisation and industrialisation. With Pakistan poised to be one of the topmost countries impacted by global warming, relevant government departments must pass regulations that outlaw the felling of trees, especially on public land.
Profiteering seems to be a possibility here. Ostensibly, the explanation provided that the trees were cut and sold to pave the way for a new road to adjoin the animal husbandry and veterinary sciences department is tenuous given that alternative solutions surely existed. The first indicator of this is that 50 trees carve out a vast area so either a path could have been established going through the wooded area with minimal cutting or circumscribed around it. Regardless of the alternative solution, a committee should have decided on a more environmentally-friendly plan. SAU has a certain responsibility to consider environmental aspects being an agricultural university in the country’s most industrialised and polluted province. Instead, an entity received a check in return for removing valuable trees without much thought.
Regulating attempts to destroy natural habitats would instill better environmental consciousness in people and require them to at least ponder why government regulations exist in the first place. We are a people that require strict laws for this since it is too much to ask us to independently adopt a conscience. Felling trees and destroying the homes of fellow living creatures, resultantly disturbing entire biomes, was unexpected of an agricultural university, particularly one situated in a rural setting.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2018.