–Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar’s air harmful for residents
KARACHI: Population rise in major cities, particularly, Karachi, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad and Lahore, is causing environment pollution due to ill planning and allocation of meagre funds by relevant authorities, according to a PPI survey.
Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar are the most air-polluted cities of the country where air quality is harmful to public health.
Unfit transport system and industrial emissions cause air pollution that is affecting people, mostly those living in congested areas.
Major factors responsible for high population growth in Pakistan are high fertility, low contraceptive prevalence rate, high unmet need of family planning, declining mortality, custom of early marriages, son preference, poverty, illiteracy especially of women and lack of women empowerment and religious constraints.
A strong and reliable transport and communication sector is extremely important for the advancement of the economic system.
The substandard water is also being provided to the people as population has risen to an alarming level. Garbage and overflowing gutter water are also seen at many places in these cities. The worst situation is in Karachi where garbage is scattered in every place.
The city government blames Sindh government for not providing sufficient funds for cleanliness while Sindh government refutes this blame. However, it has been observed that both governments are not doing good job in this regard due to political disputes.
The funds allocated for the cities are insufficient to cater to the need for cleanliness, clean water and well-spaced housing projects, while major share of these funds is also embezzled. The reason behind it is political hurdles, embezzlement and commission mafia.
The project contracts are being awarded on commission basis and political influence while major share of funds is embezzled by using substandard material in water supplies, roads and other projects.
These malpractices have been seen in almost all the government, whether who rules the country. Neither PPP and PML-N nor PTI regime could control the corruption.
A Transparency International’s report says Infrastructure, telecommunications, energy and textiles are all potential sectors of interest for foreign firms and investors looking to do business in Pakistan. However, corruption remains a major obstacle to companies operating in the country, along with macro-economic uncertainty and lingering security risks.
While companies are likely to encounter corruption across all sectors, certain industries and firm profiles are more at risk than others. Collusive contracting and kickbacks remain widespread in the energy and infrastructure sectors, while industries driven by fast-moving consumer durables, such as telecommunications, seem to be becoming more resistant to such practices.
Larger firms are generally less vulnerable to coercive corruption, and the positive effects of foreign bribery laws, such as the UK Bribery Act, can be gradually felt percolating through multinationals’ value chains as local firms become increasingly sensitive to the compliance requirements of foreign companies.
The total population of the 10 major cities in Pakistan has increased from 23.41 million in 1998 to 40.92 million in 2017.
Approximately 35 percent of Sindh’s total population lives in Karachi and Hyderabad alone. Karachi occupies the top position in the list of most populous cities of Pakistan with a population of 14.91 million which shows an increase of 59.8 percent in 19 years.
Likewise, the population of Hyderabad city increased from 1.16 million to 1.73 million showing 49.1 per cent growth.
The population of Lahore city has increased by 116.3 percent from 5.14 million to 11.12 million in 2017, while Faisalabad’s population has increased from 2.0 million to 3.2 million in 2017 showing a growth of 60.0 percent.
Similarly, the population of Rawalpindi has increased by 49.3 percent from 1.40 million to 2.09 million and Gujranwala by 78.8 percent from 1.13 million to 2.02 million in 2017.
The population of Peshawar city has increased by 101 percent from 0.98 million to 1.97 million in the same period. The population of Quetta city has increased by 78.6 percent to 1.0 million in 2017 from 0.56 million in 1998.
Due to the rise in population, Pakistan is faced with serious challenges of environmental pollution, land degradation, water pollution, and air pollution. Freshwater and industrial pollution is mostly unchecked in cities and may get worse unless economic activity is underpinned with sustainable development.
The population welfare programs have failed to give desired results as birth rate in the country is still high. The population is rising day by day while resources of the country are decreasing.
The rulers have always been seen fighting for the survival of their government as several governments have been dismissed in the country on one or another pretext, but unconstitutionally.
A SUPARCO report says Pakistan is confronted with a number of severe environmental problems such as degradation of natural resources, industrial and vehicular pollution, pollution of marine environment, degradation of human health.
Summarizing in monetary terms, the annual cost of environmental degradation in the country is about 4.3 % of GDP (US $ 4.3 billion). Specific examples are; air, land and water degradation, drought and desertification, waterlogging, forest depletion, loss of biodiversity, vehicular & industrial pollution and climate change.
A World Bank report stated that Pakistan’s top environmental issues include air pollution, inadequate supply of uncontaminated drinking water, noise pollution and the health deterioration of urban population due to pollution.
These environmental concerns not only harm Pakistani citizens but also pose a serious threat to the country’s economy.
The report also stated that the increase in industrialization, urbanization and motorization will inevitably worsen this problem.