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Daily Times

Published Date: Jan 10, 2016

Alarm over pollution hazard : Deforestation distorting capital’s landscape

ISLAMABAD: Deforestation by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is causing environmental pollution that is reaching at alarming levels including the distortion of beauty of the federal capital.
Moreover, experts are of the view that deforestation in the capital is harmful for the environment and the pollution would reach alarming levels if CDA did not plant more trees in the developmental areas. They believe that deforestation could also cause diseases such as sunstrokes and headaches.
Sustainable Policy Development Institute (SDPI) renowned Environmental Expert Kashif Salik told that trees play a critical role in regulating the earth’s climate through the carbon cycle removing carbon from the atmosphere as they grow while storing carbon in the leaves, woody tissue, roots and organic matter in soil.
Kashif Salik said that after seas, forests are the second largest storehouse of the carbon. He said that a small to mid-size car traveling 100 km a week contributes 1.3 tones green house gases (GHG) emission per year.
According to carbon foot print calculator, planting four trees will counterbalance the emissions in a year, Salik added.
A senior CDA environmental wing official told that the authority is in a fix as it has to cope with the growing traffic problems on one hand and has to maintain the beauty of the city on the other. The cutting of trees is resulting in increased air pollution and mercury in the city, he added.
Environmental Expert Dr Mehmood Khalid Qamar told that Pakistan is already among the top ten countries where unusual weather patterns are making major environment impacts and the situation may further deteriorate in the coming years if attention is not paid to the issues related to climate change.
Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency former director general Asif Shuja said that due to widespread falling of trees and rapid urbanisation, temperature in the capital city has started to regularly cross 44 degrees in summer season.
He said that it is because of new construction and uprooting of trees suggesting that there is a need to take satellite images of Islamabad to gauge the most heat-emitting areas. Like, Shakarparian that was once the only picnic spot of the federal capital established in 1960 has also become the victim of apathy of Capital Development Authority (CDA). The spot where once films were shot because of its scenic beauty and giving a view of the country’s capital now gives look of a deserted place. Green belts have almost dried with cutting of tree on the hilly spot in the name of security or development work in the surroundings has deprived Shakarparian of its main attraction. Moreover, all the roads and pavements are in dilapidated condition.