Islamabad is part of Punjab


Environmental problems in Pakistan have negative effects on the health of the population and are in tension with economic development. Pakistan is a major importer of exhaustible and renewable energy resources and a major consumer of fossil fuels. The Pakistani Environmental Protection Agency, affiliated with the Ministry of Climate Change, has the mandate to preserve and protect the environment.

Environmental problems in Pakistan range from pollution and poisoning of water from untreated sewage, industrial waste and agricultural waste to limited drinking water resources, deforestation, soil erosion and desertification and salinization problems. Some think tanks are researching this topic and are working with Pakistani environmental activists for an ecologically sustainable policy. The rivers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province are also suffering from increasing pollution.

One of Pakistan's worst environmental problems is "waterlogging and salinity", i.e. for example "water backflow and salinity": Overwatering, leaky canals and insufficient drainage cause the water table to rise to the surface of the ground. At the same time, the deep moisture in the soil causes salt from deeper layers of the earth to reach the surface through capillary action and bloom in the sun. The result is salt areas and marshes that are square kilometers in size (see adjacent picture). Pakistan is losing considerable agricultural land as a result. In the Punjab Province with its five rivers in particular, the salinisation of the soil is a problem. In addition, the Indus River, also known as the Sind and one of the largest rivers (3200km) in western Asia, is the lifeline of Pakistan.

The central Pakistani authority for water and energy management is the Water Resources and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) in Lahore. Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) is responsible for Karachi and the surrounding areas. In addition, there are around 20 independent companies that contribute to electricity production in Pakistan.

In the past decade, Pakistan has suffered from various natural disasters. The earthquake disaster in 2005 in the north of the country, especially in Kashmir, resulted in very high loss of life and devastating material damage. Around 100,000 people died, 138,000 were injured and 3.5 million people were internally displaced. The Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) in Islamabad takes care of the planning, strategy, financing, monitoring and evaluation of reconstruction and rehabilitation projects.

The flood disasters in recent years, and especially in 2011, 2015 and now 2017, affected large parts of the Pakistani population along the Indus River and had a devastating impact on the country's humanitarian and economic situation. The metropolis of Karachi and the country's coast were particularly hard hit by the floods in 2017. According to the Pakistani media, 115 people died, many of whom were electrocuted. The monsoon rains fall from June to September; The water levels are currently falling.

Various organizations and institutes have published current data describing the effects of climate change in recent years.

Civil protection should be given priority

In January 2016, the head of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Major General Asghar Nawaz, called for disaster risk management to be strengthened and, above all, for coordination between the various responsible bodies and actors. The measures after the devastating floods of 2015 were discussed at a national conference. Even if the crisis response was satisfactory, existing gaps should be identified and effective strategies developed on this basis. This includes expanding flood protection measures, replacing the army's outdated rescue equipment, establishing sufficient budgetary resources, increasing the number of personnel, and improving the equipment of the Pakistani weather service.

In the run-up to the Paris Climate Conference 2015, the Grantham Institute examined 95 countries' climate policies and legislation as well as the strategies for their implementation, including for Pakistan.