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Daily Times

Published Date: Aug 28, 2012

ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION DEVOURING RS 1B PER DAY OF PAK ECONOMY

Environmental literature in Urdu can be more effective in creating awareness and encouraging people to preserve nature, said National Language Authority (NLA) Chairman Dr Anwar Ahmad while chairing the launch of a book organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday.

Ahmad called upon experts to use the Urdu language to present environmental information to general public. The book Mahool, Muashra and Paidar Taraqi (environment, society and sustainable development) is a compilation of selected research articles and papers authored by eminent writers Dr Tariq Banuri, Anil Agarwal, Ahmad Salim, and Dr Mahmood A Khawaja. It is published in various editions of SDPI’s premier environmental journals Paidar Taraqi and Dharti over the last 20 years.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Anwar underlined the need to sensitise youth about environmental conservation and called for inclusion of environmental preservation in curriculum. He said books like these inspire change in society and engaging youth is the last hope for Pakistan.

SDPI Senior Adviser Ahmad Salim in his introductory remarks said, “There is dearth of research material and environmental literature in Urdu, which is a reason that common man is indifferent to environmental issues and debates on the subject.” He said the book not only summarises important environmental concerns during the last two decades in Pakistan but also showcases SDPI’s 20 years of research and struggle for conservation of nature. He also appreciated SDPI staff for their untiring efforts in publication of books that vowed for sustainable socio-economic development in Pakistan.

SDPI senior adviser on chemicals and sustainable industrial development and lead contributor of the book, Dr Mahmood A Khawaja, while introducing the publication read several excerpts from main articles of the book and quoting Dr Tariq Banori, said, “Sustainable human development not only produces economic growth but also ensures its equitable distribution. Sustainable development is pro-poor and pro-nature which not only preserves ecology and but also empowers people.”

He cited an article from the book written by Ahmad Salim which argues that participatory development is the only solution to modern day economic problems instead of current market-based capitalist economic model. He also narrated excerpts from an article by Anil Agarwal on environmental politics and said this article is a must read to understand the global politics on environment.

Former ambassador, former United Nations assistant secretary general and UNEP’s deputy executive director, Shafqat Kakakhel, said that despite the end of colonisation, the third world countries are still unable to utilise their natural resources mainly due to neo-colonisation of natural resources by the West and industrialised countries. He said environmental degradation is badly affecting the development in Pakistan.

“A study by World Bank in 2006 reveals that Pakistan is incurring a loss of Rs 1 billion per day due to environmental degradation,” he added. Kakakhel urged political parties to come forward and include ecological preservation in their manifestos. He also suggested to translate environmental laws into Urdu, especially Pakistan Environment Protection Act, for better understanding, implementation and to reach out to common public.

Dr Humaira Ishfaq highlighted the need for producing such book and said that the book is part of SDPI’s 20th anniversary celebrations, and it was envisaged to publish some special books highlighting various aspects of sustainable development based on work by SDPI researchers, during the last two decades. She said environment is the core of SDPI research activities, which resonates and connects with almost every sphere of sustainable development. She said the articles in the book were carefully selected that open up diverse avenues for debate, action and positive intervention in society.