Fatima Bashir | Bahawalpur, Pakistan
Climate change is real: and it’s happening right now. Pakistan is witnessing the clear signs of climate change in its regions. Over the last decade, Pakistan has undergone unpredictable rains, heatwaves and massive floods. To control this abrupt change in our environment, we need to act responsibly as the climate situation right now, is quite alarming.
Lahore, the second largest city of Pakistan and the heart of its Punjab province, has faced tremendous changes in its environment over the last few years. It was once the favourite winter abode of the Emperor Jahangir and his consort, Noor Jahan, but now neither its winters nor its summers are like they used to be. Lahore’s climate is changing as rapidly as the rest of the world.
The development projects and the lack of trees in this populous city, which experiences massive traffic jams on roads and low maintenance vehicles, are some of the major reasons for the worsening climate. The air has become polluted through greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in harmful smog during winters.
It is clear that the main causes of climate change are human activities. Increased consumption of natural resources, burning of fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gasses has deteriorated the ozone layer and heated the environment. The composition of green house gasses traps heat radiated from the sun. The more heat it traps, the warmer our planet gets. The earth’s temperature has risen to 1.4 F since 1880.
Pakistan’s government has recognized the impact of climate change in our country, and has taken action. The Pakistan Tehreek - e - Insaf party started by planting 1 Billion trees in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provice when they held the provincial government there. Now, that the party has been elected federally, they have set a goal of planting 10 Billion more trees and running climate awareness campaigns in school and colleges. Plastic bags have been banned in the capital city, Islamabad as well.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan also addressed the climate change issue in the UN General assembly this year, emphasizing that Pakistan contributes to some of the lowest levels of carbon emissions in the world, and yet it experiences some of the most negative effects of climate change.
Prime Minister Khan's portion on Climate Change during his address to the UN General Assembly can be found here: https://youtu.be/uyaQgnQCQ5k?t=111
Even more efforts need to be made at the Government and individual level to ensure that Pakistan's environment is improved. For example, better quality diesel and vehicle maintenance laws should be implemented in Pakistan. Encouraging carpooling culture in big cities can help protect the environment in many ways as well. It is time that we as individuals realize the dire need of these times to start acting responsibly for our future. The proper disposal of organic and non-organic waste by every household, use of paper bags, using bicycles instead of motorbikes and minimum waste of water are small actions we can start taking, which will help protect the environment. There are so many ways we can make a difference, but we need to start somewhere. Let’s start today for better tomorrow.
Note from Editors: For more information on the science behind climate change, please visit the following links: