Sultan Ahmed, a Pakistan journalist for Dawn: the Internet Edition, writes about environment problem in Pakistan:

“…When it comes to Pakistan, we have only guesswork instead of thorough research. What is known is that the atmospheric pollution is widespread and centres in large cities like Karachi are highly polluted by automobile fumes.

Rivers are polluted by industrial effluents dumped in them all over Pakistan. Even coastal waters around Karachi are polluted by industrial waste and chemicals dumped into the sea which poison the sea life as well.

Places like the Bolton Market, Burns Road and the Empress Market have a high- density of carbon in the air from automobile fumes which is increasing day by day.

But the greater threat is yet to come and that will be from the mining operation of coal for production of power. The Thar coal is set to be one of the largest coalmines in the world if not the largest.

Initially the Thar power project is based on using imported coal, and a coal port is being set up. The imported coal will be initially mixed with the local coal which will gradually replace the imported coal.

The automobile industry in Pakistan has set a target of half a million vehicles within five years. That is apart from the rising imports of cars which are gas guzzlers. All that will add to the pollution in a big way.

Right now an old rickshaw in the city emits more smoke than a medium-sized factory does, and the hope that such hazards would be removed seems remote. It has been suggested from time to time that auto-rickshaws should be banned, but when that would be done no one knows.

Use of gas instead of petrol and diesel oil can reduce fumes though not the heat, but the number of gas stations in the country is too small.

We live in a country where high-priced bottle water is not pure in most cases and even medicines are adulterated, not to speak of food items. That is not the kind of environment in which we can fight pollution which leads to global warming and climatic change for the worse…

We have to begin an entire new chapter of our ecological life and improve it constantly instead of smugly presuming ‘we have lived with fumes so far and can live with some more’, which is a form of slow suicide.

We have a ministry of environment, but nobody knows what it does?”
Source: Ahmed, Sultan. “Global Warming and Pakistan.” Dawn: The Internet Edition.  March 26, 2007.

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