Urooj Fatima, Green Blogger

"Pakistani laws and regulations are not sufficient to deal with environmental concern, we need a holistic approach to improve the environmental quality".

Pakistan is miserably entrapped in the major environmental problem that moves Pakistan towards the unsustainable development. Without solving environmental problems, Pakistan cannot be developed. Pakistan is facing many environmental problems that pose a serious risk to environmental quality and human health. Many studies conducted in Pakistan revealed that natural resources are continuously declining and deteriorate environmental quality, human activities are mainly responsible for all these problems. Climate Change is one of the most recent and non-traditional issues of Pakistan. Pakistan is placed in the 7th most vulnerable developing country that is most affected by the climatic variation. During the last century, the average temperature over Pakistan increased by 0.6 degrees centigrade. The main cause of this issue Over-population, Greenhouse gases emission, and deforestation.

One of the major problems that pose great pressure on the environment is population growth. Pakistan's population is 134.510 million with a growth rate of 2.3%. The recent trend of population growth shows that Pakistan might become the fourth most populace country in the world. The urban population is also continuously increasing with the recent trend by over 3% per year. Only 58% population has accessed to clean and freshwater and sanitation facilities. 137 million acres feet per annum clean freshwater is existing and groundwater bodies are continuously declining due to water pollution. International monetary fund (IMF) stated in the report that Pakistan is placed at the 3rd number that faces water shortage problem. In the coming year of Pakistan, it is expected that water availability will be decreased than 700 m³ per capita by 2025 which is contrary to the international standard of 1500 cubic meter (m³) per capita. Total wastewater discharges are assessed to be 7,590 million cubic meters per annum and it is projected that it will be double in the 2025 year.

More than 50,000 tons of solid waste produced every day in a country, the most dominant portion in solid waste is hospital hazardous waste that is openly dumped or burned in the environment. Poor sanitation and improper waste disposal is also a major issue that not only affects the environment quality but also human health. The salinity, waterlogging, and soil erosion are also a major risk that poses a serious threat on land. Air pollution is also a rising environmental problem in Pakistan due to an increase in vehicular traffic, industries especially brick kiln. Currently, Environment Performance Index (EPI) published a report in which Pakistan include in the list of those countries that have poor air quality especially in megacities like Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, and Quetta. Plastic bags are other environmental issues that not only damaging for humans but also other living organisms and marine species. Noise pollution is also an alarming issue especially in megacities like in Peshawar is 86dB, Karachi is 76.5dB. The deforestation rate in Pakistan is 2.1% per year due to illegal timber cutting and more consumption of fuel wood that is the highest rate among the Asian countries. Due to deforestation, many species are threatened due to loss of habitat. The wetland is also a precious natural resource. It has covered about 6% of the land. But the current wetland continuously lost due to conversion in agriculture land, human development, etc. The coral reef ecosystem is a biodiversity hotspot that is distributed in the southeastern part of the Arabian Sea. Due to human activities and natural disasters, the coral reef constantly declines.

To deal with the current environmental crisis of Pakistan, it is dire need to promote environmental education at all levels and integration of environmental education into the curriculum. Efficiently work of government authority, public participation and media involvement could solve the problems in an eco-friendly way, and produce environmentally literate people that would move our community towards sustainable development.

About the Author: Urooj Fatima is a student of environment at GCWUS. She is enthusiastic and keen for environmental problems.