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Monday, July 22, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

Karachi

 

Population influx in the metropolitan city is causing alarming levels of environmental pollution and health hazards.

 

People from all provinces of the country are settling in the metropolis for jobs and other businesses, increasing air, sea and water pollution. Natural resources like water are also depleting.

 

Due to the population explosion, people are being forced to drink polluted water and many of them have been affected by waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and vomiting.

 

As of April 2013, Karachi has an estimated population of 23.5 million people and is the third largest populous city of the world.

 

The government has taken no significant action to control the population rise, and the city’s resources are declining while levels of pollution are gradually rising. There is an urgent need to control the city’s population.

 

According to the National Forum for Environment and Health, Karachi generates 25 tonnes of garbage on daily basis, of which only 25 percent is being disposed of.

 

Except for the posh localities, the city’s streets have become dumping sites for garbage as the local bodies are not properly carrying out their duties.

 

The Malir and Lyari rivers have been encroached upon at many locations and huge quantities of garbage are being dumped into them.

 

The irony is that the storm-water drains are being used for dumping garbage rather than ensuring smooth flow of sewage.

 

It is the duty of the provincial government to treat sewage before it is released into the sea, which is a breeding ground for fish and other sea life.

 

The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2012-13 states that Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world with an estimated population of 184.35 million in 2012-2013.

 

The growth rate of population in 2012-2013 was two percent. Under the current circumstances, Pakistan might attain the fifth position in the world in terms of population by 2050.

 

The survey says population density in Pakistan was 231 in 2012-13. Due to uneven distribution of population, its density varies dramatically, ranging from scarcely populated arid areas, especially in Balochistan, to some of the highest urban densities like Karachi and Lahore.

 

Global warming and the change in seasonal and monsoon patterns can cause more heavy rains in the city like in the past and pollute the atmosphere as rainwater drains are filled with garbage.

 

There is an urgent need to implement the environmental laws to ensure a safe environment in the megalopolis.

 

Owing to a rise in vehicles in the city, smoke pollution has also jumped to an alarming level. Resultantly, people are experiencing respiratory diseases.

 

All major arteries of the city release high levels of smoke in the air, but the authorities concerned seem indifferent to overcoming the air pollution. Smoke pollution is not only affecting men and women, but also the elderly and children.