Deforestation hell in Pakistan

The crisis is dire

It is true that trees are a source of life. Not only with regard to natural ecosystems, but also for the survival of human beings. Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals.  Moreover, these also provide many benefits to us, every day. They offer cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities. Photosynthesis is the process through which trees produce their food by absorbing carbon dioxide from the environment and releasing back oxygen in return. This process is an effective way to slow down climate change and fight against global warming.

It is imperative to remember that one large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people. More Forest and focus On Plantation drive in developed countries is the reason for the coldest climate. Russia has 8,148,895 sq. km, Brazil has 4,925,540 sq. km, Canada has 3,470,224 sq. km and the USA has 3,103,700 sq. km of forest.

Globally, there are estimated to be 3.04 trillion trees. According to a study by the journal Nature, there are roughly 422 trees for every person on earth. Canada has 318 billion, Brazil has 302 billion, the USA has 228 billion and China has 140 billion trees.

Russia has 642 billion trees. Average July temperatures are between 71°F (22°C) and 77°F (25°C). Summer is the wettest season of the year in Russia. The temperature remains around 03°C.

As citizens, it’s our responsibility to implement actions that can make the planet a better place to live in. The implementation of environmental laws to make sure of an end to deforestation and maximum plantation in this regard is necessary for the State.

It is true that global warming and climate change have highlighted the importance of forests in our lives. Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous country, is one of the most vulnerable to global warming.

According to the Global Forest Watch organization, from 2001 to 2021, Pakistan lost 9.75 kha ercentof tree cover, equivalent to a 1.0 p decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 3.56Mt of CO₂e emissions. Such figures speak volumes of disaster. Summer temperatures in its southern cities often surpass 120°F. Deforestation is a problem across Pakistan.

Woeful, the poorest fell trees to burn for cooking and to stay warm. The trees will take years to grow but it will take a few seconds to chop them down. In addition, owing to urbanization, the public and the private sector are busy constructing new societies and roads by cutting down more vegetation every day.

The effects of climate change are visible in Islamabad.  The city used to be one of the coldest cities but it remained dream these days. Bahawalpur has recorded 45.5°C and has been ranked as the joint tenth hottest place in the world today.

It is no denying the fact that Sindh is not excluded from the effect of deforestation. As of 2019, Sindh had already lost 50 percent of its forest cover. Even under the billion-tree tsunami project, only 601.96 million trees were planted, which was the lowest compared to other provinces.

Jacobabad, Nawabshah, and Sibi have recorded 47.4°C and are the three Pakistani cities that make up the top three hottest places in the world today. Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) officials reported that the maximum temperature was recorded as 49°C in Jacobabad on April 30 this year.

If compared to the last five years, the rain was also recorded lowest in this current year due to deforestation. Deforestation is also the main reason behind less rainfall. Across Pakistan, green areas are being turned into deserts because of the impacts of global warming.

Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman, stated that the 60 percent shortage of water in River Indus is very dangerous. The population of the province, agriculture and livestock are at risk due to the 52 percent to 62 percent shortage in Sindh’s barrages and canals. The UN reported that Pakistan will experience a drought by 2025.

According to Inspector General Forest Syed Nasir Mahmood, if plantation efforts were taken in Karachi on scientific lines as is happening in other countries, Karachi’s temperature could be brought down by at least six to 10 °C.

Retrospectively, In Pakistan, April 2022 turned out to be the hottest month in the last 61 years. Both the months of March and April this year remained the warmest months in the history of Pakistan. Tree plantation is significant because it is linked to our basic need for good food to eat and clean air to breathe. Climate action has not historically been a priority for incumbent governments. Climate change is indeed a greater security threat to Pakistan than terrorism because it could affect temperatures, environment, economy and the future policies of the country.

To cut to the chase, the reason for no rainfall is deforestation. Trees play an important role in climate change. Forests directly cool the planet, like natural evaporative air conditioners. Now is the need to start a campaign for tree plantation.

It is imperative to recognize that Rome was not built in a day. It is necessary that people should grow more and more plants to make the environment friendly for all species. The federal and provincial government should work in tandem to start campaigns for growing hand planted forests and cutting of forests must be banned or buttings must be replaced by young trees. Media is the fourth pillar of the state; it must be used to bring awareness among citizens to initiate a plantation drive.

Besides this, radio is most listened to in rural areas; it must be used so that the plantation awareness message may be heard in every corner of rural areas in order to mitigate the scorching heat. The situation facing Pakistan calls for extraordinary measures. Climate experts should urge the current government to continue the previous government’s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami program (TBTTP). Pakistan is emitting planet-warming 480 million tons of carbon annually, but such a programme would enhance the capacity of the forest cover to the extent where it will be able to absorb 500 million tons of carbon from the air, more than the total emission of the country.

As citizens, it’s our responsibility to implement actions that can make the planet a better place to live in. The implementation of environmental laws to make sure of an end to deforestation and maximum plantation in this regard is necessary for the State.

Nuzair Ahmed Jamro
Nuzair Ahmed Jamro
The writer is a civil servant presently posted in Shikarpur, Sindh

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