Pakistan State of Environment Report: The Monthly Overview, October, 2013

The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) have begun working on a feasibility study for the construction of waste water treatment plants on the Ravi river at two sites at an amount of Rs 486 million. Read more in this October 2013 edition of the Monthly Pakistan State of the Environment Report published by the South Asia Environment Portal. Read and Share. ENVIRONMENT Experts during a discussion at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) were unanimous that Pakistan is one of the most effected countries as far as the climate change in concerned. The experts said Pakistan is experiencing worst effects of climate change that include serious threats to its agriculture sectors due to increasing scarcity of water resources. LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE Sindh Agriculture Growth project initiated with the assistance of World Bank will increase the production of small crops up to 30 % in Sindh. The Agriculture department Punjab in Pakistan, has advised the farmers to cultivate approved varieties of sugarcane to get bumper crop. A new agriculture policy with subsidies for farmers must be introduced to increase acreage of food crops and ensure food security in the province, said Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, a senior faculty member of Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam’s. WATER RESOURCES AND FISHERIES A large number of fishermen under the aegis of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) protested in Sanghar district against the occupation of freshwater lakes by influential people. DAMS The Gilgit-Baltistan government in Pakistan has formed an advisory committee on Diamer-Bhasha dam to deal with the issue of payment of compensation to the affected people. The local farmers stressed the need for construction of Kurram Tangi dam, saying it would help to overcome the shortage of food and energy in the entire Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. FORESTS Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA Ms Zarin Zia has asked the officials of forest department to increase forest cover and boost the sector in this backward district with the participation of local community. The Gilgit-Baltistan forest department in Pakistan, has constituted a task force to curb rampant smuggling of timber from the region to other parts of the country. POLLUTION Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) expressed concerned over the closure of Combined Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in Karachi tannery zone. The Korangi Industrial Area (KIA) has remained shut down for one week besides causing a loss of over Rs 6 million and huge amount of untreated water was also being released into the sea. FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS Republic of Korea donated a cheque of $200,000 to Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) for the Balochistan earthquake victims. The death toll from an earthquake in southwestern Pakistan has reached 515, a provincial official said. A low intensity 4.3 magnitude earthquake felt in Musakhel area of Balochistan and its suburbs. HABITAT The NED University of Engineering and Technology will shortly launch a project approved under the annual development programme to become Pakistan’s first green campus. If official plans go well, people of Islamabad and Rawalpindi can hope the long promised metro bus service for them will get some traction soon. WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) have begun working on a feasibility study for the construction of waste water treatment plants on the Ravi river at two sites at an amount of Rs 486 million. Safe drinking water is available to only 23 percent urban and 14 percent rural population of the country, said a survey conducted by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR). PEOPLE Participants at a seminar unanimously demanded the Punjab government in Pakistan to direct the quarters concerned to register the entire brick kiln workers and issue them social security cards under the labour laws. Sindh labour department sharing various estimates with participants in a workshop suggested that more than 53,000 children were working in hazardous conditions in Sukkur district. HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS Twenty-eight more dengue viral fever cases were reported in Karachi city from October 5 to 7, increasing the patients’ toll to 2133 this year, said Dr M Shakeel Aamir Mullick, Focal Person for Dengue Surveillance Cell Sindh. Cases of dengue fever have shown a steep rise in Hyderabad city of Pakistan between August and October with the Diagnostic and Research Laboratory (DRL) confirming 2,273 dengue cases till Oct 24. The total number of dengue cases has reached 805 in Punjab of Pakistan in the ongoing season. The Punjab government in Pakistan, has directed the health department to use water-based fogging machines for the anti-dengue fumigation and also the government will observe Anti-Dengue Day on November 3 to raise public awareness about the menace. Minister for Health Khalil Tahir Sindhu says the Punjab government in Pakistan, has launched an anti-polio campaign in high risk districts including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan and Mianwali. The National Institute of Health Islamabad has confirmed four new polio cases, including two from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and one from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to officials. HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS A non-governmental organisation and its member NGOs have called upon Pakistan and other regional countries to halt the import of a damaged, presumably toxic European ship and urged the governments concerned to refrain from bringing the vessel for ship-breaking. ENERGY Pakistan is seeking a loan of $900 million from Asian Development Bank for Jamshoro thermal power plant to enhance energy supply. The Ambassador of Tajikistan, Jononov Sherali, has said the work on the project for the provision of electricity to Pakistan will be started in January 2014 and completed within next two to three years. The federal government is switching three power plant units through working on a proposal to convert the existing furnace oil based steam power plants including Muzaffargarh, Jamshoro and Guddu which are being converted to coal firing to save two-third cost. The Pakistan Government has finalised a strategy to generate over 22,000MW electricity by completing various short and long-term projects to overpower menace of power load shedding in the country. Pakistan's first gasification plant will start generating low cost electricity from next year, head of the Thar Coal Underground Gasification Project said. The first ever solar-powered irrigation plant became operational in a Khushpur village of Faisalabad in Pakistan. The government will open tenders for solar parks in April next year for meeting the ever increasing energy requirements in Pakistan. LIVING RESOURCES The World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) organised a field visit for journalists to its ex-situ conservation project facility at Changa Manga where they were briefed about the Gyps Vulture Restoration Project and ongoing activities.