Published Date: Jul 23, 2018
High Temp, Water Scarcity and Air Pollution Three Top Environmental Challenges: Survey
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s first-ever Environment Barometer survey cited high temperature, water scarcity and air pollution as top three environmental challenges of Pakistan. Regarding provincial government’s efforts to address these challenges, 40 percent respondents from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) believed that their government took some measures to tackle these challenges, followed by Punjab with 28 percent respondents, Sindh with 26 percent and Baluchistan with 20 percent.
The Environment Barometer was jointly conducted by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Herald magazine to assess people’s perceptions on environmental issues and government’s role in environmental sphere.
Presenting the findings of the Barometer, Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI said the barometer was aimed to assess people’s perceptions on environment issues. He said that voters need to prioritize environmental issues such as heat-waves, water scarcity, climatic change and environment friendly development; the voters need to translate their choices into voting patterns.
According to the survey, 89 percent of respondents believed that these environmental issues are negatively impacting their health, 74 percent of respondents said livelihood and 68 percent believed that their day to day social life was negatively impacted.
The voters’ response on government’s actions to combat challenges of the environment was very dismal, wherein only 4 percent of respondents were satisfied with their respective government’s measures and demand for more actions. Also, voters’ response on the environment as a determinant for their vote in coming election was depressing, where only 13 percent respondents prioritize environment as the determinant for casting their vote.
As per the survey, 87 percent respondent believed that human activities are largely responsible for these environmental issues, followed by natural causes 75 percent and 74 percent cited population growth as a major factor.
Dr Shafqat Munir, Associate Research Fellow, said the Environment Barometer shows that though the awareness level of the voters on environmental issues seems high, but majority of them did not include environmental issues as determinants for voting in the 2018 elections. He said the rising awareness may play a key role in future to include environment on the priorities’ list of the people while pushing for their demands in terms of allocations in budget and electing their representatives.
Referring to another SDPI-Herald Political Barometer, Dr. Abid said that 13 percent neutral voters’ role would be decisive in the forthcoming general elections.
This big chunk of voters had been indecisive until July 12th, the date of closing of this Political Barometer survey. He said the situation since July 13th to-date and till the final voting day cannot exactly be predicted. There might be some changing trends in real-time polling on 25th July 2018.