Team Members: Shakeel Ahmed
The development history of Pakistan is quite interesting. Pakistan’s economy has undergone different experiments over the course of time. On occasion, Pakistan followed the protective-economic model, and other times, the open-market model. However, these models remained oblivious of environmental aspects. Although Pakistan is not a big polluter, the prevalent lack of knowledge regarding nature is a major concern.
Environment and poverty are strongly linked and in some cases, determine impact. The underprivileged sections of society are more dependent on natural resources and their judicious distribution, and at the same time, are more vulnerable to economic, social and environmental shocks. Poor management of natural resources further aggravates the situation in Pakistan. The livelihood of millions of people is, both directly and indirectly, dependent on Pakistan’s natural assets.
Environmental degradation is a well-established fact in Pakistan. Components of the environment, e.g. forests, water, wetlands, land, air are not in satisfactory quality. Moreover, their condition continues to deteriorate with time. The land is losing its fertility due to organic degradation, soil erosion, water logging, salinity and the loss of cover of natural vegetation. Land productivity is increasingly following a decreasing trend and is already very low in Pakistan as compared to the other developed and developing countries.
The water sector also faces issues of environmental degradation and the dilemma of mismanagement. Industrial, solid and household waste further adds to water pollution and the lack of an adequate governance system is exacerbating the situation. Water basins are also depleting very rapidly. The exhaustion of water basins is and will continue to be the cause of major concerns in the future. Pakistan will have to face the problem of scarcity in future, which will result in reduced hydro power generation.
Over-exploitation of forest resources is a common phenomenon, due to lack of awareness among the masses. The quality of air is worsening due to presence of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the general misuse of natural resources and other unwanted pollutants, such as chemicals. Owing to these problems, Pakistan’s biodiversity is sharply declining. The poor health of natural resources is impacting the whole social, economic and environmental fabric of Pakistan.