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January 17, 2021

Kissan body stresses steps for clean environment

Lahore

January 17, 2021

LAHORE : Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC) has organised a demonstration for implementation of policies for climate justice. The call for the demonstration in Asian countries for ‘Action for Climate Justice Now’ was given by Asian People’s Movement for Debt and Development (APMDD).

Farooq Tariq, General Secretary PKRC, said the year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most horrific years for humanity.

“And even as we all struggled to survive and overcome Covid-19 and its impacts - we had to also simultaneously battle other crises - of deepening economic injustice and inequality, of the rise in violence and authoritarianism, and of an escalating climate emergency. We are now at the threshold of the most critical decade for climate action,”

he said and added, “This decade is our last chance to prevent run-away climate catastrophe and stabilise rise in global temperature to the safest level still possible – below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

He called on the Pakistani masses to join hands to begin 2021 and new decade with sounding the alarm about the climate emergency and demand climate justice from governments and corporations. Pakistan emits only a tiny portion of the global greenhouse gases but is predicted to be among the hardest hit by extreme weather such as droughts and floods.

Untimely rains, floods, increasing temperatures and untimely change of seasons have incurred huge losses to peasants in Pakistan, he said. “Mega projects like Orange Train and big dams won’t be able to reduce the negative impacts of environmental pollution. Orange Line Metro Train has yet to draw commuters as envisioned. Only about 0.6pc of Lahore’s population (62,000 people) use the train at the moment – with just 24pc of the trains’ capacity being used,” he said.

Millions have developed breathing problems due to smog and toxic air, said PKRC member Saima Zia and added air quality index (AQI) of Lahore and Faisalabad was worse than New Delhi in early November last year.

Citing Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco), she said that the institution found 28 of the 36 districts in Punjab were witnessing increasing levels of smog in November 2020.

Health experts have noticed a serious increase in respiratory diseases, eye infections and allergies in Lahore in the past four years. Research has also shown that polluted air causes depression and other physical illnesses.

Around three million die every year from air pollution, she said. Others who spoke on the occasion include Nasir Iqbal, Riffat Maqsood and Muhammad Ashiq.