ISLAMABAD: In July, a glacier lake burst in Gilgit-Baltistan and destroyed people’s homes, crops, roads and bridges. Residents of Badswat village, which lies in the Iskoman valley, were at the mercy of the flash flood and were gravely affected.
Though the timely evacuation of the village helped in ensuring that no human lives were lost, the threat of melting glaciers is real for the people of G-B. Owing to the global climate change effects, glaciers have been melting faster than expected. Pakistan has more glaciers than any other country outside the polar region — more than 7,200 in the Karakoram, Himalayan and Hindu Kush ranges.
In the wake of this, formulating an environmental policy becomes vitally important for the incoming PTI government. Climate change and appropriate policies to counter it were ignored by all previous military and civilian governments. But this needs to change as people’s lives are at risk.
The incoming government should pay special attention to environmental issues that have plagued the country so much so that water shortage in the country has been worsening with every passing year. Metropolitan cities like Karachi are at the risk of facing an acute shortage of water if immediate actions are not taken.
Karachi alone hosts a population of 20 million and water scarcity would make it impossible for people to survive.
The incoming government needs to act fast and soon once it takes up the reins of government.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2018.