Environmentalists, activists gear up for nationwide ‘Climate March’


ISLAMABAD: Environmentalists and activists across the country have joined hands to hold the first nationwide ‘Climate March’ on September 20 to highlight urgency of grave impacts of climate change in the region.

Talking to APP on Tuesday, senior environmental journalist Afia Salam said that Climate March would attract the attention of the entire nation towards the pressing issue of climate change, which is jeopardising the future of future generations.

“Pakistan is directly embracing the impacts of climate change which is badly disturbing the ecology in the country,” she added.

There had been deliberations and consultations with students, parents, teachers and climate change activists since past many months to draw attention towards the serious and potential threats posed by increasing environmental degradation, Afia said.

She informed that there had been different groups, formed over social media to engage students, youth, parents, experts and other members of the civil society separately to muster maximum number of people for the march.

“We will also try to engage the Ministry of Climate Change and the government to partake in the Climate March,” she added.

Afia told APP that the march had been organised in the backdrop of Greta Thunberg’s (a Swedish student) world famous protest outside Swedish Parliament to demonstrate for with raising global awareness of the risks posed by climate change, and with holding politicians to account for their lack of action on climate crisis.

Environment lawyer Ahmad Rafay Alam, also part of the movement for Climate March, said that Pakistan was among the most vulnerable countries due to climate change where 2 degrees Celsius increase in temperature could cause Himalayan, Hindu Kush and Karakoram glaciers to melt.

“We are not acting the way a highly vulnerable country should do as the climate change policy formulated by the former government is not compatible to the risks faced by the region due to environmental degradation,” he said.

Alam said “there was no focus on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, though our emissions were minimal at the global level but the issue was we had to tackle the GHG releases at the indigenous level”.

“They are mostly affecting our environment at the local level where non-compliant diesel with high Sulphur ratio is the worst polluter of our environment”, he added.

“There are no practical measures taken in this regard which should be the priority of the government,” he added.

He said, “No awareness on climate change has been made at the grassroots level and unless you dismantle fossil fuel based economy; you are not fighting climate change.”

Moreover, climate change activists have started mobilising and educating school and college students in Quetta, Karachi, Lahore, Gilgit Baltistan, Islamabad and other major cities across the country to participate in the Climate strike to draw attention of the masses towards the pressing issue of climate change causing environmental degradation in the region.