Pakistan State of Environment Report: The Monthly Overview, November, 2013

Pakistan State of Environment Report: The Monthly Overview, November, 2013
 
The Global Climate Risk Index 2014 has ranked Pakistan among the three most affected countries worldwide for three consecutive years by climate-related catastrophes. Read more in this November 2013 edition of the Monthly Pakistan State of the Environment Report published by the South Asia Environment Portal. Read and Share.
 
ENVIRONMENT
Glaciers in Pakistan are continuously melting because of rising temperature and by the year 2035, the country will no longer have water reserves in the shape of glaciers, stated the Federal Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the International Conference on Plants, People and Climate 2013. The Global Climate Risk Index 2014 has ranked Pakistan among the three most affected countries worldwide for three consecutive years by climate-related catastrophes. The Germanwatch climate risk index shows that the most severe weather-related catastrophes occurred in Haiti, Philippines and Pakistan. World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) organised a capacity building workshop on climate change to sensitise journalists and urged them to play their role in creating climate change awareness amongst the masses.
 
LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE
Growers suffered irreparable losses when their highly prized tomato crop sown on 25,000 acres across Mirpurkhas district in Pakistan, failed to grow to its mature size and the fruit remained stunted because of the inferior quality of hybrid seed T-1359 marketed by Syngenta company, blame growers. Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) in collaboration with International Center for Agricultural Research in the Areas (ICARDA) and the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the provincial research and development institutions is going to formulate a project for soil fertility.
 
WATER RESOURCES AND FISHERIES
The Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) government in Pakistan has devised a comprehensive plan to encourage increase of the production of fish in the huge reservoir of Mangla dam up to 2000 metric ton annually.
 
DAMS
The Sindh government in Pakistan, has decided to launch a six-year project with World Bank assistance to improve irrigation efficiency, leading to improved agricultural productivity in the province. The Gilgit-Baltistan government in Pakistan, has transferred some 17,000 acres state land to Wapda for Diamer Basha Dam Project. The Pakistan government has released so far Rs 2,076 million for construction of dams and water reservoirs during current financial year 2013-14 to effectively meet future power needs. Saudi Fund for Development has announced an additional fund of $57 million for 106-megawatts (MW) Golen Gol Hydropower Project being constructed in district Chitral of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
 
FORESTS
Divisional Commissioner Muhammad Ameen Chaudhry said that three million saplings had been planted in DG Khand division in Pakistan during the ongoing plantation campaign. Pakistan has joined the race to receive global funding to save its last remaining natural forests. The country became eligible to compete for the funding by implementing “Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).” Islamabad is in an intense competition with 12 other developing nations to earn an estimated $400 million to $4 billion per year to save its forests. The Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) government in Pakistan, has launched an extensive and integrated drive to discourage the smuggling and unlawful cutting of the forests in the region.
 
POLLUTION
Various teams comprising officials of Lahore city district government, town administrations and police sealed 19 steel and other factories for causing environmental pollution in Daroghawala. President, National Forum for Environment and Health, Mohammad Naeem Qureshi has urged the Sindh government to ensure early introduction of environment policy so as to help people against wide range of pollution oriented hazards. Lahore Transport Company (LTC) Chairman Khawaja Ahmed Hassan said 200 more new CNG buses would be inducted into the existing fleet by the end of current year.
 
FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS
A moderate 5 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Pakistan, with tremors felt in several cities, but officials said there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The United Nations has assured the Balochistan government of its continued assistance for relief and rehabilitation efforts in the areas affected by recent earthquakes in the province.
 
HABITAT
Karachi commuters have been awaiting measures from the Sindh government to streamline failing public transport system in the city. The Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) government in Pakistan, has chalked out an integrated phased plan to improve the transport and communication sectors in the area during the current financial year of 2013-14.
 
WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION
The Punjab government in Pakistan will launch a ‘Clean Water Project’ to provide portable water to every home in the next five years. The Lahore High Court directed the Water and Sanitation Authority (Wasa) to take samples of drinking water from different parts of the city and get them examined from the PCSIR laboratory. The court was hearing a petition questioning the dilapidated sewerage system and the provision of unclean drinking water in the provincial capital. Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said that provision of clean and potable drinking water to Pindities was the top priority of the Pakistan government and in initial phase solar filter would be established at schools to provide clean water to students to protect them from diseases and masses could use it too. Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) has installed 13 more water filtration plants throughout the country under the project “Water Quality Monitoring in Rural Areas of Pakistan and Installation of Low Cost Water Conditioning and Filtration Units (Phase-II)”. A recent report issued by Pakistan Chapter of UK-based charity - WaterAid-Pakistan revealed that 97,900 people die annually in Pakistan due to unsafe water and improper sanitation.
 
PEOPLE
In Pakistan, Secretary Labour and Human Resources Punjab, Capt (retd) Muhammad Yousuf has said the Punjab government is taking solid measures for elimination of forced labour from children with cooperation of the International Labour Organization, Employees Federation of Pakistan, labour organizations and NGOs. The Child Rights Movement (CRM) and the Grass-root Organisation for Human Development (GODH) in Pakistan, jointly organised a consultation with different stakeholders to build a consensus for banning a contemporary form of slavery – child labour.
 
HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS
Total number of Dengue patients, within the province of Sindh, has reached to 1869 and the code of conduct to control dengue viral fever would soon be enforced here. Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Umar Ata Bandial directed the Punjab government to submit reports regarding dengue-related deaths and also the health policy. Provincial Programme Manager of Sindh AIDS Control Program Dr Muhammad Ahmad Kazi said around 800 HIV positive cases had been reported in year 2013 so far which was less in number as 960 cases were reported in year 2012. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has expressed optimism to transform Sindh into a Polio- free province of Pakistan by 2014. Pakistan ranks fourth among the 15 top countries which account for three quarters of childhood pneumonia cases worldwide. Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar said that the Pakistan government will soon start vaccination against pneumonia in the federal capital. Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Health Kh Salman Rafique said that the Pakistan government was implementing various projects to overcome the problem of malnutrition in children and inclusion of nutritional ingredients in food essential for a healthy society. The recently established Nounihal Clinics and mobile health clinics have provided healthcare to over 100,000 destitute people, including children, in 17 districts of Pakistan so far.
 
HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS
Pakistan has imported over 22,149 metric tonnes of potentially hazardous plastic scrap, as the country is a big dumping ground for plastic scrap.
 
ENERGY
Qatari and Chinese companies will jointly install four coal-based power plants at Gaddani (Balochistan) and Port Qasim, which will generate a total of 2,600MW power in Pakistan. Three memoranda of understanding were signed between the Punjab government and China Western Power Company for cooperation in the energy sector.
Under the agreements, the Chinese company will set up two 660-megawatt each coal-based power plants in Sahiwal. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif launched the construction of Pakistan’s biggest atomic power plant and vowed to pursue further projects to make nuclear the largest energy source. The 2,200-megawatt plant is to be built with Chinese technical assistance on the Arabian Sea coast at Paradise Beach, 40 kilometres west of Karachi. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah held a meeting with the president of A.E.C Company of Saudi Arabia, Dr Ghassan-Al-Shibi, in Dubai who agreed to establish 300-500 megawatts solar energy farm projects in different parts of Sindh to overcome energy crises.
 
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