Monthly Overview on State of Environment, Pakistan, Dec 2013
Erratic climate change events have hit the rice production in Pakistan this year and to take account of damages, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its end-of-the-season report has downgraded its production forecast for the country by 600,000 tonnes to 8.7 million tonnes (5.8m tonnes, milled basis). Read more in this December 2013 edition of the Monthly Overview on State of Environment, Pakistan
The Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptive Assessment (CCV&AA) for Islamabad and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) for making Islamabad a model climate resilient city would be ready by the end of this month. Climate change adaptation needs attitudinal change at macro level and it is this uncertainty that makes climate change threatening, while its impact on the South Asian region will be acute. This was stated by the environmentalists at an inaugural session of a-two-day Mid-Term Review Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation, Water and Food Security in Pakistan hosted by the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC). Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), which is the component authority to ensure better environment and also carryout Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for every new project in the province, continued issuing 'no objection certificates' on all reports.
LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE
Erratic climate change events have hit the rice production in Pakistan this year and to take account of damages, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its end-of-the-season report has downgraded its production forecast for the country by 600,000 tonnes to 8.7 million tonnes (5.8m tonnes, milled basis). Noticing the falling yield of rice in Pakistan the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) representative has urged the Pakistani rice farmers to adopt the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) prepared by the World Bank Institute (WBI) and widely practiced in several rice growing countries successfully for achieving higher productivity and water savings. The Punjab Seed Council in Pakistan has approved 39 new varieties of different crops for general cultivation. Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company has successfully experienced the cultivation of a new variety seedless Citrus in Thal region, seedless Grapes in Choolistan region and Olive in Pothohar region. The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (Parc) has decided to actively involve farmers in the research process for increasing agricultural production.
In a related development, Punjab government in Pakistan, has also decided to seek acquisition of a mining block at Thar Coal that would not only support Sindh’s initiative for development of Thar coal deposits leading to power generation but also help Punjab overcome power shortage and ensure its energy security.
WATER RESOURCES AND FISHERIES
Supreme Court has directed Sindh government to present lay out and site plan of the project aimed at making Manchar lake pollution free. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has taken a serious notice of water contamination in Manchhar Lake.
Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) in Pakistan, informed the parliamentary Committee on Water and Power that government has decided to complete Dasu and Diamer Basha Dams simultaneously to save agriculture losses and generate additional power in the country. Work on the Sanam dam in Pakistan, has formally been started at Tehsil Adezai in Lower Dir that would be constructed with an estimated cost of Rs.600 million and will irrigate more than 2000 acre agriculture land in the area. Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) in Pakistan, is working to complete six power projects to inject 1,100MW in the national grid by end of the year 2018. China will assist Pakistan for establishing a joint research and testing lab and training centre, worth RMB 1.78 million, on small Hydro Power Plants at Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET).
Carried away by the prospects of undertaking a major development project, the irrigation department in Pakistan, has hewed 2,600 trees worth Rs 20 million without pondering over a better alternative. Elders of Tozikhel, a sub-tribe of Ahmadzai Wazir tribe of South Waziristan Agency in Pakistan, have expressed grave concern over large-scale deforestation in the tribal region and alleged that the local administration is hand in glove with the timber mafia.
The citizens of Sadiqabad in Pakistan, have demanded a ban on the two-stroke rickshaws which emit smoke and are causing rapid spread of various diseases in the city.
FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS
A sum Rs 22.2 million was presented to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on behalf of the eminent figures of the province as donation for the Balochistan quake affectees. An earthquake of moderate intensity jolted Peshawar and its adjacent areas in Pakistan.
The Sindh government has planned to launch a yellow line bus service with Rs 12 billion in the forthcoming year in association with a Japanese company. The Asian Development Bank has agreed to assist Pakistan to develop a sustainable urban transport service in Karachi through the delivery of a bus rapid transit corridor focusing on accessibility and people’s mobility and decided to send a mission to appraise the project.
WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION
According to the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), 59 per cent of the water samples taken from the federal capital and its rural areas were found unsafe for drinking. The Lahore High Court directed the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) to submit a report of drinking water samples from different parts of the city after their tests from PCSIR laboratory. The Water and Sanitation Agency has sent necessary maps/drawings and data of the existing water and sanitation system to Turkish experts who had visited Lahore in September to identify areas of improvement for replicating Istanbul’s water and sanitation model. The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) launched a project to spread awareness regarding solid waste management in the area.
As part of its Decent Work Country Programme the International Labour Organization in collaboration with the European Union implemented a project on combating abusive child labour to support national efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour from Pakistan.
Commissioner Khalid Masud Chaudhry directed health department in Pakistan, to keep potential breeding sites of dengue mosquito larvae under surveillance. Eight hundred fresh cases of HIV have been registered in the current year in Sindh, said Dr Mohammad Ahmed Kazi, Provincial Manager for Sindh AIDS Control Programme (SACP). Pakistan recorded 72 cases of polio this year compared to 58 for all of 2012, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official said. A five-day polio drive will start in Rawalpindi district of Pakistan from December, 16. During the campaign,1365 polio teams would go door-to-door to administer polio drops to 695,000 children up to to five years in all tehsils and union councils of the district. The National Institute of Health, Islamabad confirmed two new polio cases in Miramshah tehsil of North Waziristan Agency. North Waziristan has recorded 27 cases of polio, the highest number of cases reported from any area of the country. Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafiq has said that after detection of polio virus in Lahore, a special action plan has been evolved for 66 high-risk union councils of the city and a special three-day anti-polio campaign has been launched.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved financing of $900 million for 1320MW Jamshoro power project in Pakistan for its conversation to coal. The government of Sindh has been assured that Federal government would extend all possible assistance in the construction of a 600 MW Thermal Power Plant at the mouth of a coal mine in Thar. The Rawal Town Municipal Administration (RTMA) in Pakistan, has decided to replace all streetlights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to save energy. China has committed $6.5billion to finance the construction of a major nuclear power project in the port city of Karachi as it seeks to strengthen ties with its strategic partner, Pakistani officials said, reports Reuters. The Balochistan government signed an agreement with a Korean company to set up a 300 megawatt solar power plant at a cost of $700 million. The first 50MW wind power project with the credit facility of $95 million from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the United States in the wind corridor of Sindh will go into operation by the end of 2015, a senior official of Opic said. Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) in Pakistan has accelerated exploration activities and speedy development of new discoveries and currently the company is working on six projects to meet the growing domestic demand, a document said.
A consignment of 200 chinkara gazelles arrived in Sindh from Punjab under an agreement signed by the provincial forest department with the H.H Sheikh Zayed Wildlife Conservation Programme for reintroduction and propagation of the deer species which used to be found quite abundantly in the province. The committee set up to probe the alleged disappearance/theft of deer from the Lal Sohanra National Park in Pakistan is expected to begin its work within a few days.