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Planting Mangroves – An aim to safeguard coastal areas from climate change

Published on 29th Feb, Edition 9, 2016

 

Tsunamis, heat wave, tidal flooding and snowstorm are extreme natural calamities the world is experiencing currently due to climate change. Climate is becoming warmer day by day because of the presence of CO2 emissions in the environment. Pollution, deforestation and industrialization are key factors in increasing global temperature around the world.

According to the World Bank data on CO2 emissions from 2011 to 2015, China and Russia have remained as top producers of CO2 emissions standing at 5.3 million and 9 million tons respectively. Even though Pakistan stands at 0.2 million metric tons unfortunately it is one of the worst affected countries due to global warming.

Climate change is a serious crisis for Pakistan where the average annual temperature has increased by 0.12 centigrade whereas annual rise in sea level is by 1.1 m. As a result, prolong heat wave and massive flooding are prevalent in the country. It is observed that the northern and coastal areas of the country experience worst impact of climate change. Pollution along with cutting down trees for different purposes has created an imbalance in the ecosystem, posing threat not only to human life but biodiversity as well. So what steps need to be taken on the immediate basis to counter climate change in Pakistan? Recycling, energy conservation and adding forest cover are some of the steps that can be taken by the country to safeguard its environment from catastrophe.

 

Measures to meet the challenge

The coastline in Pakistan is stretched about 1,000 kilometers where Sindh coastal belt being lined with mangrove vegetation. These mangrove forests thrive in mingled salt and freshwater. Pakistan is blessed with semi-arid mangroves but their ecological importance has been ignored for long time. With mangrove forest depletion at an alarming rate of 2.3 percent, the coastal areas especially Karachi has become vulnerable to harsh climatic conditions. Mangroves are very important ecosystem as they serve as a shield against tsunamis, sea storm and flooding.

Realizing the importance of mangroves and making Karachi coastal areas resilient to climate, World Wide Fund and K-Electric have planted 20,000 mangroves with an aim to mitigate the impact of climate change. They have planned to plant more than 80,000 mangrove trees within a year.

KE is one of the first corporate organizations in the world to enter Karachi in the WWF Global City Challenge against its Climate Change Policy for the year 2016. The Global City Challenge has been created to mobilize action and support from cities in the global transition towards a climate friendly one-planet future. The challenge invites cities to submit inspiring and credible urban development plans that dramatically increase the city’s use of renewable energy. The effort of KE is a reflection of its vision towards making Karachi a climate-friendly and sustainable city. A massive plantation campaign along the coastal areas of Pakistan will assist in making areas more resilient to climate change and also able to minimize possible looming threats.

Immediate recognition of climate risk and environmental protection as an issue of critical concern is need of the hour however; the government’s policy is devoid of such concern. To tackle the impact of climate change, the government needs to integrate climate change policies in the planning and development of the country. The government should also take steps for the rehabilitation of coastal communities so that they are protected from environmental catastrophes and are able to face risks associated with possible floods. The civil society should also come forward and play their part to not only cope with the issues but also come up with initiatives to reduce impact of climate change.

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