Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Climate change in coastal areas of Pakistan

Syed Muhammad Abu Baker in the Nation (Pakistan):
...According to German Watch Institute, Pakistan was not included in the Long-Term Climate Risk Index (1993-2012) which clearly shows that it wasn’t a disaster hit country but the Climate Risk Index (CRI) for 2012 ranked Pakistan at number 3 as the most affected country by climate change revealing that inappropriate decision making of the government, ineffective planning and over-exploitation of natural resources causing billions of dollars in damage and driving the economically unstable country further into poverty.

...Scientists have commented that floods in Pakistan (2010, 2011, 2012) are the result of climate change but if proper adaptation measures had been taken, their devastation could have been reduced greatly. It has been observed that Pakistan was never a disaster-prone country and received adequate rainfall and seasonal temperatures throughout the year, but as time passed the frequency of natural calamities increased, which highlights the fact that human activities have led the whole country to this point.

...It has been observed that people adjoining northern and coastal areas of Pakistan are witnessing the worse impacts of climate. Unawareness, ignorance and over-exploitation of natural resources are some causes and deforestation is one of the major causes for increasing climate change impacts. Over the past few years deforestation in Pakistan has increased at a fast pace of 2.1% per annum, the highest in Asia, followed by mangrove forest depletion at an alarming rate of 2.3 % annually.

Pakistan is blessed with one of the largest semi-arid mangroves in the world but has ignored their ecological importance for long which has caused great damage. Mangrove cover helps in protecting coastal communities from harsh climatic conditions as they serve as a shield from storms and floods and also serve as a potential habitat for shrimps and marine life, also economically supporting fishermen communities. Using mangroves for fuelwood for domestic and commercial purposes, camel grazing, pollution from industrial effluents and reduced fresh water supply to the forests are some of the main reasons for reduced mangrove cover in Pakistan. Fast depleting mangrove forests have made the coastal areas of Pakistan vulnerable to harsh climatic conditions especially cyclones, floods, sea level rise and the impacts of change...

Mangroves in Port Qasim, Karachi, shot by Ismail.sultan, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication 

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