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Thursday February 29, 2024

Environmentalists warn of looming urban crisis

By Our Correspondent
November 23, 2023
University of Engineering and Technology Lahore entrance can be seen in this picture. — UET Lahore website
University of Engineering and Technology Lahore entrance can be seen in this picture. — UET Lahore website 

LAHORE: Prospective engineers at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) received a stark warning from environmentalists that a failure to change habits and uncontrolled urban expansion could transform the city into an uninhabitable toxic landscape in the near future.

As part of its 70th-anniversary celebrations, Pakistan Cables collaborated with UET, Lahore, to organise a seminar on the evolving landscape of sustainability in engineering.

The aim was to inspire young engineers to take a leadership role in sustainable development. During the event, three masterclasses were conducted, focusing on the principles of sustainable engineering.

These sessions were led by Imrana Tiwana, convener of Lahore Bachao Tehreek and a board member of the Lahore Conservation Society; Raza Ali Dada, managing partner of Nayyar Ali Dada and Associates; and Sana Ibrahim, trustee and development director at Bondh E Shams.

Imrana Tiwana, in her session, educated students on the elements of sustainable urban development, delving into Lahore’s Master Plan and discussing how the next generation of engineers can reverse existing city damage with a more significant impact. Sana Ibrahim, a pioneer of the innovative technology behind Bondh E Shams’ solar-powered water boxes used to purify drinking water in remote locations, guided students through the journey of designing, funding, and delivering self-contained solutions in the face of accelerating climate change.

Architect Raza Ali Dada shared the challenges that sustainable engineers face in taking their innovations beyond the conceptual stage, emphasising the importance of developing the political will to address our shared predicament.

Arshad Shafiq, Director of Operations at Pakistan Cables, presented the company’s developments at its new manufacturing facility at Nooriabad and highlighted other sustainability efforts. Pakistan Cables Urban Forest, the nation’s first and largest urban forest on an industrial estate with over 50,000 trees, was also showcased.

The company is the first building material company in Pakistan with science-based targets for emission reduction, recently validated and approved by the SBTi.

“For 70 years, we have put innovation and cutting-edge research at the core of our operations. The next decades of Pakistan Cables will be fueled by our vision to support sustainability platforms to transform how we view engineering and its role in securing our future,” said Fahd K. Chinoy, CEO of Pakistan Cables.

Speaking at the occasion, Vice-Chancellor of UET Dr. Habibur Rehman said: “Pakistan’s environmental challenges, such as freshwater scarcity, smog, rising temperatures, and flooding, are increasing year by year. It falls on us to realise that without developing innovative and sustainable solutions, we will be struggling to survive in our land in the near future.”