PESHAWAR: Journalists, university students and civil society activists have called for coordinated planning and concerted actions by government and non-government authorities against heatwave and climate change.
A press release said that an online training session was held on Heatwaves and Climate Change, organised by Resilient Future International Private Limited, an Islamabad-based research and training company. Aftab Alam Khan, Chief Executive of Resilient Future International and lead trainer, explained that numerous research reports had confirmed that heatwaves had been increased due to climate change. The most notable among them are recent publications of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
These reports are prepared by thousands of scientists and approved by almost all governments in the world. For instance, ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’ publication of IPCC-AR6 launched in February 2022 had already warned that Pakistan and other South Asian countries would face higher frequency of heatwaves with greater intensity and longer duration.
Aftab Alam underscored the disproportional impact of heatwaves on poor and marginalised communities, particularly women, children, outdoor labourers, elderly, disabled and transgender persons. Heatwaves have negative impacts on physical and mental health. Besides heatstroke, heart and kidney patients are also vulnerable. Heatwaves lead to mental stress and increased violent behaviours by individuals and groups.
The current heatwave in the country, according to estimates by the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SPARCO), has caused 10 per cent losses in wheat production, amounting to around 3 million tons of wheat. He suggested water-smart and climate-resilient methods in agriculture and industrial production. The recent outburst of Shisper Glacier lake is connected with the heatwave. Normally these lakes are formed in May or June. However, the heatwave that started in March resulted in the formation of the lake in April, Aftab added. This year March was the hottest month in the history of Pakistan. The temperature in Jacobabad reached 51 Celsius against the average of 43.8 Celsius.
Nawabshah faced 50.5 Celsius against an average of 44.6 and Moenjodaro reached 50 Celsius against its average temperature of 44 Celsius. Ali Jabir, a climate journalist, emphasised training needs for journalists to improve climate-related stories. He explained various climate-related terminologies to the participants. Jabir also explained zig-zag technology to convert brick kilns into climate-smart production units. Amir Sohail, a journalist from Swabi, noted that highway construction in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should avoid tree cuttings and ensure timely plantation of trees.
Imran Baloch of Green Rural Development Organization, Hyderabad Sindh, emphasised regular training programmes on climate change. Hamza Yousaf, a student of IIU, talked about pollution created by plastic bags and stressed the need for community and government actions against that.