Published On: Sat, Nov 11th, 2017

Warnings about environmental degradation in Karachi

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Speakers at a seminar on climate change and environment held in the city have given foreboding warnings about Karachi’s future. They have said that Karachi may face climate change for the worse. There may be dust storms, cyclones and smog in the coming years. Karachi, they said, was among the cities most likely to be affected by climate change.

One environmental expert said that the city was fast becoming unlivable with each passing day and warned that toxic smog, which had made life miserable in Punjab, may soon hit Karachi also as it was a manmade phenomenon.

The remedies they suggested were to restrict further expansion of the city and to plant trees around the city and along the beaches on a massive scale. Both these suggestions are out of reach of Karachiites and the local leaders. The mayor of Karachi cannot even remove the garbage from the city as the provincial government has taken over the ‘solid waste management’ too. Similarly, planting of trees on the suggested scale would need huge funds which the local bodies cannot afford. Moreover, most of the lands around Karachi are owned or are under the management of federal and provincial governments where the city’s local body has no say.

Another serious problem is that the Karachiites and their elected representatives have no control over the building activity in the city. Huge, high-rise apartments are coming up everywhere. But here again it is either the Sindh Building Control department under the provincial government or the various cantonment boards under the federal government which approve the plans for the new buildings. People keep wondering from where they will get water to supply to these new buildings and how the already inadequate and choked sewerage system cope with the deluge of sewage from the new buildings. Yet another nightmare is about the congestion that would be caused on the already crowded roads once these buildings are occupied.

Under the circumstances, the people of Karachi can do little or nothing to face the oncoming challenges.


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