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Environmental issues A Presentation By Mr. Allah dad Khan Visiting Professor the University of Agriculture Peshawar


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Environmental issues A Presentation By Mr. Allah dad Khan Visiting Professor the University of Agriculture Peshawar

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Environmental issues A Presentation By Mr. Allah dad Khan Visiting Professor the University of Agriculture Peshawar

  1. 1. Environmental Issues A Presentation By Mr. Allah dad Khan Visiting Professor the University of Agriculture Peshawar
  2. 2. The general meaning of environment is ‘the surroundings about us’. There are three components of environment: (i) Physical (abiotic) Component-Land, water, air and the related semi-components are included in it. (ii) Biotic Component-Plants and animals are included in it. Man is an important part of it. (iii) Energy Component-The sun is the main source of energy on the earth. So, it is also a part of our environment. Besides it, geothermal energy, tidal energy, wind energy etc. are also included in it. Environment
  3. 3. Environmental Issues in Pakistan
  4. 4. 1.POVERTY  According to an analysis which shows that the poverty has increased roughly from 30% to 40% during the past decade.  Consider that if 40%of a country’s population is earning their lives below the poverty-line in which the people are deprived of basic necessities of life such as clothing, shelter, food, education and medication, such families and their children will be forced to think of their survival only.
  5. 5. 2.Acid Rain:  Acid rain occurs due to the presence of certain pollutants in the atmosphere. Acid rain can be caused due to combustion of fossil fuels or erupting volcanoes or rotting vegetation which release sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. Acid rain is a known environmental problem that can have serious effect on human health, wildlife and aquatic
  6. 6. 3.Agriculture Pesticides  Indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilisers ensure that agricultural run-off from fields also contributes to water pollution. Extensive use of agricultural chemicals has already started affecting aquifers. World Health Organisation (WHO) study revealed that two million people suffered from pesticide poisoning and 40,000 die per year. Most of these were from developing countries, which have been urged to buy pesticides from corporations from the developed world. The pesticides are carcinogenic and mutagenic causing sterility, low fertility, skin cancer, immune and hormonal system disorder. In Pakistan, pesticide residues have been found in water, soil and even food commodities. The situation is worse here because many of these are either sold under generic names or are fake and adulterated
  7. 7. 4.Carbon monoxide emissions in Megacities  – Carbon monoxide emission levels in Karachi and Lahore have considerably exceeded WHO’s recommended levels. It however happens only during crowded hours not 24 hours a day. We should be concerned about it and a Clean Air Program must be initiated to ensure safe level carbon monoxide emissions especially in megacities
  8. 8. 5.Climate Change:  Climate change is yet another environmental problem that has surfaced in last couple of decades. It occurs due to rise in global warming which occurs due to increase in temperature of atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels and release of harmful gases by industries. Climate change has various harmful effects but not limited to melting of polar ice, change in seasons, occurrence of new diseases, frequent occurrence of floods and change in overall weather scenario.
  9. 9. 6.Deforestation:  Our forests are natural sinks of carbon dioxide and produce fresh oxygen as well as helps in regulating temperature and rainfall. At present forests cover 30% of the land but every year tree cover is lost amounting to the country of Panama due to growing population demand for more food, shelter and cloth. Deforestation simply means clearing of green cover and make that land available for residential, industrial or commercial purpose
  10. 10. 7.Demand for Environmental Managers There is a lot of demand for environmental managers especially from the lenders i.e. World Bank and ADB. All these multilateral banks want to lend to Pakistan as well as want to ensure that the projects are also environmentally capable but we have very little proper professional capacity. NGOs have very good work and capacity with regards to advocacy and raising awareness but they are not qualified researchers as such. We need to opt for environmental studies in our universities
  11. 11. 8.Exploiting IT technology for Environment Protection  – Government is hardly using IT technology in this regard. There must be software programs developed for registering industrial data on environment. This program should be linked to every industry with the Internet and it may be given access to a centralized database in Islamabad. Other than that, the government can also be advised that all the ministries should start adopting similar IT programs and train their staff for e-governance. In this way, the IT technology can be exploited productively. 
  12. 12. 9.Fuelwood  According to the two studies, consumption for household firewood exceeds production in all provinces except the Northern Areas, which are sparsely populated. Due to the increase in population, consumption would probably go up to 3% per year. Pakistan's woody biomass may be totally consumed within the next 10-15 years
  13. 13. 10.Livestock grazing  Unrestricted livestock grazing is also a severe threat. Trees have always been chopped down to allow grass to grow, in order to feed livestock. In some cases forests are set on fire for this purpose also and the rate has gone beyond sustainability in many areas. In addition forests are also cleared for agriculture.
  14. 14. 11.Degradation of the urban environment  Urban growth is estimated to be 4.6% per annum. This is mainly a consequence of the high rate of rural-urban migration that contributes to the rapid decay of urban environment. Estimates indicate that 6 million (16%) people are unemployed and this is expected to increase by 500,000 annually. The increase in population, unemployment, and pressure on agricultural lands means migration to urban areas.  The migrants usually are poor and are forced to live in urban slums. Out of the total population 45% of the people in Sindh and 50% in Punjab live in one-room houses. They often are not linked to water supplies and sanitation. The reason is their lack of financial resources and the administration does not provide these because that might give them legal status. They also do not invest in their residences as they either do not have the money or are afraid of being evicted.  When the utility services are not available, unhealthy practices are adopted. Waste is dumped out in the open and becomes a source of water contamination.
  15. 15. 12.Waterlogging and Salinity   These problems usually occur together and are a result of intensive and continuous use of surface irrigation. Some experts consider them more important than soil erosion because they occur in the most productive areas of the Indus Basin. More than 2 million hectares of land is waterlogged (JRC 1989d), and the inefficient historical planning of the irrigation system is the culprit. It is 100 years old with unlined canals, resulting in the seepage of water into the topsoil,. Salinity usually follows. When the water evaporates the salts are left behind and the area becomes unfit for agriculture. In over 25% of the Indus basin the water table has risen to 2 m of the soil surface, resulting inn 40,000 hectares of land being lost annually to both these problems. In some areas it has gone up to I m. Over 5.7 million hectares of land are salt affected and 2.4 million hectares is highly saline according to the Soil Survey of Pakistan. The soil of 13.6 million hectares within the Gross Command Area was surveyed, which revealed that 3.1 million hectares (23%) was saline. 23% of this was in Sindh and 13% in the Punjab.  Waterlogging and salinity pose serious threats to the primarily agricultural economy and may also affect the remaining forests in the basin. In any case, the increase in this problem could mean the clearing up of the adjacent forests to make room for more agricultural land.  Because of the gravity of the situation, measures have been taken to rectify this problem as a result of which a large area of land has been reclaimed through the Salinity Control and Reclamation Programmes
  16. 16. 13.Soil Erosion  Around 15.9 million hectares of land (18% of total) affected by soil erosion. Out of this, 11,172,000 hectares affected by water erosion, while 4760,000 hectares affected by wind erosion.  Soil erosion is taking place at an alarming rate and is mainly due to deforestation in the north. Water erosion is prominent on steep slopes such as the Potohar track and surrounding areas, an area extensively used for cultivation. Water erosion and poor land management is also affecting watersheds in the upper Indus River and its tributaries. The highest recorded rate of erosion is in the Indus catchment between the Tarbela reservoir and 90 - km upstream where soil loss is estimated to be 150-165 tonnes/hectare/year. Overall, 28% of soil is being lost to water. 14% of the storage capacity of Tarbela was lost within 10 years of being completed. The Indus River carried the fifth largest load of sediment (4.49t/h) in the world in 1990. According to some estimates the Indus is adding 500,000 tonnes of sediment to the Tarbela Reservoir every day, reducing the life of the dam by 22% and the capacity of reservoir by 16%.  Wind erosion has a relatively lower impact than water erosion. However, the combination of the two is more devastating. This reduces the productivity of the land by 1.5-7.5% per year. This affects almost one-fifth of the Punjab.
  17. 17. 14.Desertification  Desertification is a process that turns productive land into non-productive desert. It occurs mainly in semi-arid areas (mean rainfall less than 600 mm) bordering on deserts. The arid and semi-arid rangelands in Pakistan show signs of being strained. The threat of overgrazing, over-harvesting and overstocking of the natural vegetation is aggravating the situation. The change in grazing practices has virtually reduced some areas in the Cholistan desert to sand dunes. According to one estimate more than 60% of the natural grazing areas of the country have production levels lower than one third of their biological potential. More than one-third of the country has been classified as under risk of desertification (45 million hectares). Deforestation, over cultivation, excessive cutting of fuelwood and incorrect irrigation practices all have a share in this problem.
  18. 18. 15.Global Warming: Climate changes like global warming is the result of human practices like emission of Greenhouse gases. Global warming leads to rising temperatures of the oceans and the earth’ surface causing melting of polar ice caps, rise in sea levels and also unnatural patterns of precipitation such as flash floods, excessive snow or desertification.
  19. 19. 16.Greenhouse effect & Pakistan  – The planet has been affected in current times with the greenhouse gasses which is detrimental to maintaining life and sustainable environment on earth. Pakistan is a very small contributor in greenhouse effect; Pakistan contributes only 0.2 % greenhouse gases of the whole world.  Pakistan is very much aware about it and has taken lead on this issue at the international level. Pakistan is party to the “Kyoto Protocol”, The Kyoto Protocol is a document signed by about 180 countries at Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997. The protocol commits 38 industrialized countries to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases between 2008 to 2012 to levels that are 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels. Pakistan needs to develop a strategy and attract investment to come to Pakistan on this issue. The industries in Pakistan should also be involved; if one actually invests in projects and get carbon credit that is going to be credited on commodity exchange. It is the first environmental commodity of the world and the predictions of the World Bank are that this market is going to be somewhere in the range of 5 to 10 billion dollars a year on exchange on this carbon emission.
  20. 20. 17.Timber  Another adverse factor is the lopping of trees for commercial purposes. Pakistan has a thriving timber market and many a time; illegal logging takes place to support the market and to make a fast buck. The high price of timber has greatly accelerated forest depletion.  The timber business goes back to colonial times. After partition when the princely states such as Chitral, Dir, and Swat were abolished, the change in rule created a vacuum in the management of the forests. This accelerated the depletion of the reserves. The state had the legal ownership of the forests, however, it disregarded the needs of the local people. While under princely rule, the emphasis of forest management was on supporting the local economy, now it shifted to being a revenue-generating source for the government. Investment in forest conservation was inconsequential as compared to their harvest.
  21. 21. 18.Genetic Engineering:  Genetic modification of food using biotechnology is called genetic engineering. Genetic modification of food results in increased toxins and diseases as genes from an allergic plant can transfer to target plant. Genetically modified crops can cause serious environmental problems as an engineered gene may prove toxic to wildlife. Another drawback is that increased use of toxins to make insect resistant plant can cause resultant organisms to become resistant to antibiotics.
  22. 22. 19.Running of old vehicles on road  – It is also one of the causes of air pollution as these cars are not discarded and thus add their share in increasing the pollution. The “Clean Air Program” should also include old vehicle retiring program. In developed countries the older the car gets the more tax they have to pay. This incentive urges them not to keep old vehicles on road. In Pakistan, low income groups keep old vehicles that have no accurate standard of pollution controlling. We also need to strengthen the motor vehicle testing program in which private sector should be invited to setup testing stations and it should be made mandatory for cars to get fitness certificate every year without which they should not be allowed to come on roads. 
  23. 23. 20.Pollution:  Pollution of air, water and soil require millions of years to recoup. Industry and motor vehicle exhaust are the number one pollutants. Heavy metals, nitrates and plastic are toxins responsible for pollution. While water pollution is caused by oil spill, acid rain, urban runoff; air pollution is caused by various gases and toxins released by industries and factories and combustion of fossil fuels; soil pollution is majorly caused by industrial waste that deprives soil from essential nutrients
  24. 24. 21.Overpopulation:  The population of the planet is reaching unsustainable levels as it faces shortage of resources like water, fuel and food. Population explosion in less developed and developing countries is straining the already scarce resources. Intensive agriculture practiced to produce food damages the environment through use of chemical fertilizer, pesticides and insecticides. Overpopulation is one of the crucial current environmental problem
  25. 25. 22.Natural Resource Depletion:  Natural resource depletion is another crucial current environmental problems. Fossil fuel consumption results in emission of Greenhouse gases, which is responsible for global warming and climate change. Globally, people are taking efforts to shift to renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, biogas and geothermal energy. The cost of installing the infrastructure and maintaining these sources has plummeted in the recent years.
  26. 26. 23.Waste Disposal:  The over consumption of resources and creation of plastics are creating a global crisis of waste disposal. Developed countries are notorious for producing an excessive amount of waste or garbage and dumping their waste in the oceans and, less developed countries. Nuclear waste disposal has tremendous health hazards associated with it. Plastic, fast food, packaging and cheap electronic wastes threaten the well being of humans. Waste disposal is one of urgent current environmental problem
  27. 27. 24.Loss of Biodiversity:  Human activity is leading to the extinction of species and habitats and and loss of bio-diversity. Eco systems, which took millions of years to perfect, are in danger when any species population is decimating. Balance of natural processes like pollination is crucial to the survival of the eco-system and human activity threatens the same. Another example is the destruction of coral reefs in the various oceans, which support the rich marine
  28. 28. 25.Ocean Acidification:  It is a direct impact of excessive production of CO2. 25% of CO2 produced by humans. The ocean acidity has increased by the last 250 years but by 2100, it may shoot up by 150%. The main impact is on shellfish and plankton in the same way as human osteoporosis.
  29. 29. 26.Ozone Layer Depletion:  The ozone layer is an invisible layer of protection around the planet that protects us from the sun’s harmful rays. Depletion of the crucial Ozone layer of the atmosphere is attributed to pollution caused by Chlorine and Bromide found in Chloro-floro carbons (CFC’s). Once these toxic gases reach the upper atmosphere, they cause a hole in the ozone layer, the biggest of which is above the Antarctic. The CFC’s are banned in many industries and consumer products. Ozone layer is valuable because it prevents harmful UV radiation from reaching the earth. This is one of the most important current environmental problem.
  30. 30. 27.Water Pollution  : Clean drinking water is becoming a rare commodity. Water is becoming an economic and political issue as the human population fights for this resource. One of the options suggested is using the process of desalinization. Industrial development is filling our rivers seas and oceans with toxic pollutants which are a major threat to human health
  31. 31. 28.Urban Sprawl:  Urban sprawl refers to migration of population from high density urban areas to low density rural areas which results in spreading of city over more and more rural land. Urban sprawl results in land degradation, increased traffic, environmental issues and health issues. The ever growing demand of land displaces natural environment consisting of flora and fauna instead of being replaced.
  32. 32. 29.Public Health Issues:  The current environmental problems pose a lot of risk to health of humans, and animals. Dirty water is the biggest health risk of the world and poses threat to the quality of life and public health. Run-off to rivers carries along toxins, chemicals and disease carrying organisms. Pollutants cause respiratory disease like Asthma and cardiac-vascular problems. High temperatures encourage the spread of infectious diseases like Dengue.
  33. 33. 30.Sewage:  An estimated 200 million gallons (Environmental Assessment and Protection of Karachi Harbour, Neville Burt 1997) of raw sewage enters Karachi harbour mainly through Lyari River and Chinna Creek. There is no non-saline (freshwater) input except for the local run-off from rainfall.
  34. 34. 31.Solid Waste:  Plastic bags are found all over the harbour and are not only an eyesore but also damaging to marine life. A wide- diversity of garbage including wood and plastic are also apparent. The garbage originates from the municipal waste and port activities. Water circulation and wind driven currents concentrate this in certain parts of the harbour, making it unsightly and dangerous to ships as it can get stuck in propellers. It can be expected that there is also significant amount of solid waste, which will have sunk to the bed of the harbour