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February 15, 2019

Tackling climate change crucial to environmental protection


February 15, 2019

Coming to grips with climate change to provide a healthy environment to the citizens is the need of the day.

These views were expressed by Amber Alibhai, general secretary, Shehri-CBE, while inaugurating a seminar at a local hotel on Thursday morning. Farhan Anwar, urban planner, said that we had to trigger a narrative on sustainable urban mobility. For this, he said, we had to work for non-motorised transport for which efficient land use planning was imperative.

“We have a lack of mass public transportation system because we have never had a centralised system,” he said. Talking about equity, he said that “we have to seek universal access and affordability”, and emphasised the need to cater to the needs of pedestrians and the disabled. He also stressed the need for enforcing land use development.

Anwar said that demand for motorised transport activity had to be controlled through appropriately designed urban spaces. The use of private motorised vehicles, he said, had to be contained.

He went on to say that we had to immediately look for mechanised transport with low emission levels of poisonous gases. Ashraf Lakho, chief consultant, Sindh Mass Transit Authority (SMTA), talked about the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT).He talked at length about the BRT Red Line Project which, he said, was being implemented with the cooperation of the Asian Development (ADB) with the master plan being prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Administration (Jica). He said that the third generation BRT system would transform Karachi as a city of virtually zero emission of gases.

He said that on account of indiscriminate proliferation of buildings, and faulty architecture, the average temperature of the city had gone up by around four degrees Celsius.

He cited the case of the Karachi University library which did not have the need for air-conditioners as all the heat was trapped in the basement and one could most comfortably sit in the library without the need for air-conditioners. He highlighted the need for high ceilings and skylights, which unfortunately were not considered when planning structure.

The components for this, Lakho said, were electric hybrid buses, bio-gas plants and adequate drainage. Lakho also called for an effective vehicle motor inspectorate and certification system.

Sophia Husnain, CEO, Linked Things, talked of air quality documentation for improved sectoral planning. By 2030, she said, 70 per cent of the population would be living in the urban areas.

For that, alongside power management and water management, we’d also have to devise a viable mechanism for air quality management. For the last-mentioned, she said, we’d have to establish a network of monitors.

Jamil Kazmi, meritorious professor, University of Karachi, that the city’s climate had been affected by the type of architecture. He said that as a result of the casual attitude towards urban planning, the average city temperature had gone up by 4-6 degrees Celsius. A major culprit that he cited as responsible for the environmental degradation was the rapid disappearance of vegetation and greenery in the city.

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