Following Sukkur, plastic bags would soon be banned completely in Karachi to protect environment, Sindh Minister for Environment Taimur Talpur said on Thursday and urged all stakeholders to make joint efforts to make the environment-friendly steps of the government successful.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark World Environment Day, he said climate change had become a serious issue for Pakistan, especially Sindh, and in order to tackle the impacts of climate change, the Sindh government had prepared its climate change policy which would be made public for debate and discussion very soon.
The ceremony had been organised by Oxfam in Pakistan in collaboration with the Worldwide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan), the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) and other stakeholders here on Thursday to discuss issues related to climate change, environmental degradation and the government response in this regard.
Organisers said they celebrated World Environment Day to raise environmental awareness and sensitise people, and to join hands with the government, the private sector, youth and relevant stakeholders to protect the environment from climate change caused by human-led activities.
Experts and authorities attending the ceremony emphasised the impacts of climate change and the crucial role of those most affected in driving solutions to this global problem. Many countries that are acutely vulnerable to climate change, including Pakistan, are showing determined leadership in response to the climate crisis.
Sindh Minister for environment Taimur Talpur said Pakistan ranked amongst the top ten most disaster-prone countries in the world; hence, we must collectively acknowledge climate change as a serious issue.
He maintained that women, children and indigenous people were disproportionately affected by climate change, which was expected to have wide-ranging impacts on Pakistan.
“We must commit towards collectively tackling the impacts of this global challenge faced by many nations across the world,” he said and added that following Sukkur, the Sindh government would soon ban plastic bags in Karachi.
He shared that a climate change policy had been prepared by the Sindh government and it would be made public in the next few weeks.
The country director of Oxfam in Pakistan, Mohammed Qazilbash, supported the minister’s views and said, “Climate change affects us all, but it has a larger impact on women throughout the developing world. Women often grow the family’s food, fetch fuel and water, and raise children. When clean water becomes harder to find during a drought, crops are destroyed by floods, or children become sick, women are hit hardest and they have to find solutions. Oxfam realises that women play an integral role in addressing the impacts of climate change, specifically in efforts to ensure food security in their households as well in climate change adaptation.
“Our projects have 70 percent representation of rural women in disaster preparedness training, climate-smart agricultural techniques, diversifying livelihoods such as kitchen gardening, long-term sustainability of the environment and mangrove conservation.”
Muhammad Moazzam Khan, technical adviser, WWF-Pakistan, said: “Extreme weather patterns in Pakistan, especially rise in temperature, frequent cyclones, uncertain rainfalls, super floods and severe droughts caused by climate change have brought about drastic changes in the socio-economic and environmental conditions of the country.
“Climate-related hazards have significant impact on the lives of poor and marginalised communities; therefore, climate change monitoring and impact assessment activities should be organised on a scientific basis. The government needs to develop adaptation plans and policies and integrate climate change considerations into broader development schemes.”
Syed Salman Shah, director general, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), said that the national Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy faced enormous implementation challenges both in terms of financial and technical backstopping as well as the cross-sectoral linkages and coordination at the national and provincial levels.
He maintained that there were serious resource constraints at the provincial and especially the district level, and support was needed from the public and private sectors to bridge the gaps in implementation.
‘”There is a need to improve resilience-building knowledge and awareness among institutions and in the wider public,” he added.
Naeem Ahmed Mughal, director general, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa), gave an overview of the climate change-related policy inputs and briefed participants about actions the agency had taken so far.
The event raised awareness about the environmental challenges caused by climate change, including the significance of mangrove forests, loss of livelihoods, climate induced migration and deforestation issues faced by the country. Over 200 participants engaged in an interactive panel discussion, which was led by DG Sepa Mughal, DG PDMA Shah, Dr Aamir Alamgir of the Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Karachi, CEO LEAD Pakistan Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, prominent journalist Zofeen Ibrahim, and Dr Kishan Chand Mukwana of the Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering Science & Technology, Nawabshah.
A live art activity on the environment and a theatre performance, directed by renowned artiste and social activist Sheema Kermani, highlighted the impacts of climate change on the communities of Sindh.
Oxfam and its allies, including WWF-Pakistan, share a desire to make a lasting difference. The growing threat of climate change requires an integrated global agenda and jointly organized development initiatives of academia, the government and private sector.