Pakistan State of Environment Report: The Monthly Overview, March, 2014
The Pakistan government has imposed a ban on manufacturing of import, sale and use of non-degradable plastic bags and other products in federal capital. Read more in this March 2014 edition of the Monthly Overview on State of Environment, Pakistan.
Pakistan and the European Union have agreed to deepen co-operation in areas such as energy, climate change and higher education. Two important documents meant to replace the outdated forest and wildlife laws have been awaiting approval from Sindh provincial assembly for three years. Sindh is the only province that has not revised its outdated forest and wildlife laws so far and follows the 87-year-old Sindh Forest Act (with few amendments which were brought in later years) and more than four-decades-old Sindh Wildlife Ordinance, 1972.
LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE
Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) has developed Canola Hybrid with good yield potential and produced hybrid seed on pilot scale. The Pakistan government has activated seed monitoring system in markets to ensure availability of quality cotton seed to farmers community. To increase agriculture production and ensure food security, the Pakistan government has taken various measures to ensure availability of seed, fertilizers and pesticides and other important ingredients.
Polish trade delegation held talks with high ups of Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) and Finance Department about exploring iron ore. The Polish delegates were told that Punjab could have its own steel mill if iron ore is extracted from the Salt Ranges near Chiniot.
WATER RESOURCES AND FISHERIES
In Pakistan, fisherwomen have vowed to lead a campaign against increasing pollution and degradation of fresh water bodies in the country, specifically in Sindh, saying like their forefathers they will continue to be the custodians of these resources.
The Water and Power Development Authority in Pakistan, has expedited the work on constructing small dams to irrigate over 130‚000 acres of land in various areas of the country. The Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power in Pakistan said that the construction of Dasu Dam will be initiated by the end of this year with the financial support of the World Bank. Chinese investment company Sino-Tia-Cheng Group has offered investment in hydropower schemes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, specially in power houses projects of Shozhosin (132MW) and Sharmai (120MW) in Chitral. The Pakistan government has released Rs.17374.170 million out of Rs.51,543.425 million allocated for various power sector projects so far under the current fiscal year Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
About 3.4 million saplings would be planted in Rawalpindi region during current spring tree plantation campaign 2014. Capital Development Authority (CDA) will plant 0.6 million saplings in Islamabad during the current spring plantation drive. Gallyat Development Authority (GDA) has completed second round of massive tree plantation campaign in almost 27 union councils of district Abbottabad in Pakistan, in which more than two & half lack forest & fruits saplings have been planted. A division bench of Sindh High Court issued notice to respondents Sindh chief secretary, secretary forest department, district forest officer Thatta and SSP Thatta to reply to a petition seeking action against forest authorities for illegally allotting forest land for sugarcane cultivation.
WWF-Pakistan and Engro Vopak Terminal Limited carried out a major underwater cleanup operation at Kaio Island near Karachi. According to WWF-Pakistan, there is a global concern that coastal habitat including underwater habitats along the islands are seriously being affected by solid wastes originating from land based activities which includes accidental spillage of solid material in the sea or by deliberate disposal of solid wastes.
FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Sindh Director General said that the relief activities in the drought hit districts of Tharparkar have entered in 19th day. The drought hit situation has been prevailing in ten dehs of Thana Bola Khan and Manjhand Talukas of Jamshoro district and the district administration is approaching to Sindh Government for declaration of these dehs as calamity hit areas. A moderate earthquake shook Punjab in Pakistan. The earthquake measured 3.4 magnitude on the Richter scale and jolted several parts of province, including provincial capital Lahore, according to the Met Department.
Capital Development Authority (CDA) in Pakistan, carried out a detailed survey of the federal capital to gather the data of the slums with and has decided to demolish at least a dozen katchi abadis in Islamabad but did not mention any resettlement plan or compensation for the helpless dwellers. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali shah directed the authorities of Work and Services Department to ensure the construction of 1200 kilometer roads by completing at least 150 ongoing road development schemes by the end of this financial year. The Punjab government in Pakistan, has diverted Rs 1 billion development funds for Rawalpindi district to Metro Bus Project for twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad. Rawalpidi Commissioner Captain Zahid Saeed said that the Metro Bus Service project would be launched on March 23. The Japanese government signed an agreement with the government to provide Japanese hybrid vehicles worth Rs490 million to Pakistan for enhancement of its security agencies.
WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the Pakistan government is paying special attention to supply of drinkable water to citizens and a sum of Rs 12 billion has been allocated for Saaf Pani Project during current year under which water filtration plants will be installed across the province. Polio virus has been found in drinking water in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Senior Sindh Education Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro has said that the provincial government in collaboration with the community, NGOs and other lined institutions will install reverse osmosis plants in 44 union councils of Tharparkar to meet water shortage. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said that Rs 50 billion had been allocated for providing potable water to the people by installation of water filtration plants throughout the province. The Pakistan government has imposed a ban on manufacturing of import, sale and use of non-degradable plastic bags and other products in federal capital.
HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS
The Sindh Health Department has reported five more new cases of dengue in Karachi. The five new cases of dengue fever have taken the total numbers to 125 during the ongoing year in Sindh. Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in Pakistan as there are approximately 7.1 million diabetic patients in Pakistan. About 24,000 people are suffering from tuberculosis (TB) in Balochistan, said Dr Ghulam Mustafa Shah, manager of the TB Control Programme in the province. Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Health Khawaja Salman Rafiq has said that the mortality due to tuberculosis in Punjab has been reduced by 53 percent which is a great success of Punjab TB Control Programme. The World Food Programme and Sindh government jointly launched a Rs 600 million project to assist around 348,000 children, pregnant and lactating women suffering malnutrition to prevent stunting and micronutrient deficiencies. Minister of State for Health Regularisation and Coordiation Saira Afzal Tarrar has said that the Pakistan government was committed to eradicating the menace of polio in the country by the year 2015. The Extended Programme for Immunization (EPI) of the Punjab health department has fixed a target of administering anti-polio drops to over 17.5 million children in Punjab in the current anti-polio drive. Chiniot district has been ranked third among all the 36 districts of Punjab in the improvement of health indicators.
Despite challenges, the Pakistan government has embarked upon an ambitious plan of coping with energy crisis at both short-term and long-term basis and has been engaged in setting up infrastructure to add at least 2,000 MW of electricity in the system as early as by the end of 2014. Pakistan has signed a resolution to import 1000-MW electricity from Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to overcome power shortage in summer season. The USAID has funded the renovation at the Tarbela, Jamshoro, Mangla, Guddu and Muzaffargarh power plants, which is expected to add a cumulative total of 1400 megawatts to Pakistan’s national grid by the end of 2014. Completion of Nuclear power plants recently installed by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) will help reduce load shedding in the country,ending circular debt and need for subsidy on electricity. Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy technologies (PCRET) has initiated a project under which different villages throughout the country will be electrified though promotion of clean and renewable solar energy through Photovoltaic process. The Pakistan government is in process of implementing around 29 different wind power projects as per its plan to enhance power production in the country.
Poachers are active in Chitral district of Pakistan, the paradise of wildlife, due to shortage of watchers. The wildlife department has only 56 watchers for an area of 14,850 square kilometers.