By Our Staff Reporter
KARACHI – Proper planning is required to meet increasing urbanization in Pakistan, particularly in Karachi where influx of people from rural areas and small towns of the country has created environmental pollution, putting heavy burden on the city’s resources.
The city’s population has been rising at a rapid pace, causing air and noise, water shortage and environmental diseases and if proper planning was not done without any further delay, there will be severe environmental degradation.
These concerns were expressed by experts at a seminar on “Urbanization & Environment” and the 12the Annual Environment Excellence Awards ceremony held at a local hotel. The event was organized by National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) in collaboration with PARCO, Sindh Youth Affairs department and host of other organizations.
Sindh environment department’s former secretary Shamsul Haq Memon said that urbanization is called population shift from rural areas to towns and cities, where they come to get employment. “The rise in urban population puts burden on energy and food consumption, ultimately causing environmental pollution,” he added.
Memon said: “Urban areas are suffering from air, noise and water pollution due to rising population. Water pollution causes hepatitis and other diseases among citizens.
He, however, opined that urbanization provides educational, health, employment and transportation facilities, which are less in the rural areas.
He underscored the need for proper planning to meet the challenges of urbanization.
The World Bank’s consultant on housing and infrastructure, Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi, said that environment pollution is caused by undisciplined population.
He said that on the one hand, world population was increasing with high rate and, on the other hand, the poverty was also on the rise.
“Majority of population in the world is poor. Pakistan’s population has risen to 200 million with 2 per cent growth rate, while Karachi has 6pc population growth rate annually, which is highest in the world. Six to eight million Afghanis, Bengalis and other aliens are residing in Karachi. Population rise is a big issue facing Pakistan, which needs to be resolved on priority,” he suggested.
Chairman of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (FPCCI) Standing Committee on Environment Gulzar Firoz said that 90pc industries in Karachi do not have effluent treatment plants. A task force is needed for setting up four combined effluent treatment plants in Karachi, while Sindh government’s assistance in this regard was also mandatory.
He said that the city’s industries are required to install effluent treatment plants to treat industrial discharge so that marine pollution could be reduced.
PPP leader and Senator Taj Haider said that there is no proper planning for settling rising population in the cities, particularly in Karachi. People living in rural areas and slumps of the cities should be given facilities at their doorsteps.
Referring to the city’s garbage disposal issue, he said:” we are working on solid waste management projects under which people will be given bags to dispose of their garbage at designated dumping sites so as to keep the environment clean.”
He said that work is also under way for setting up RO plants along coastal areas so that people could get pure water.
Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui stressed the need for making Karachi clean and green by mass tree plantation. He said everyone should take part in the city’s tree plantation campaigns, while those working in this field should be encouraged.
In his welcome address, NFEH president Muhmmad Naeem Qureshi said that his organization in collaboration with the city’s Commissioner Office, last year, planted 300,000 trees and this year, we have been given a target of planting 200,000 trees in the city.
Noted environmentalist Afia Salam and Yar Mohammad also attended the programme.
Later, following companies were awarded environment excellence awards: Adamjee Insurance Company, Afroze Textile Industries (Pvt), Asian Food Industries, B.R.R. Guardian Modaraba, Bestway Cement (Farooqia), Bestway Cement (Chakwal), Bestway Cement (Hattar), Century Paper & Board Mills, Dalda Foods (Pvt), Dawlance (Pvt), Dreamworld Resort, Hotel & Golf Course, Dawn Bread, Descon Engineering, Dr Essa’s Laboratory & Diagnostic Centre, Fauji Cement Company, Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim, Fauji Fertilizer Company, Fauji Oil Terminal and Distribution Co., Foundation Hospital Rajana, Ghani Engineering System, Golden Polytec (Pvt), Haier & Ruba Pakistan, Inspectest (Pvt), International Industries, Karachi Marriott Hotel, K-Electric, Kot Addu Power Company, KSB Pumps Company, Lotte Chemical Pakistan, Lucky Cement, MESEC, Mima Knit (Pvt), Mughal Iron & Steel Industries, National Refinery, Novartis Pharma (Pakistan), NUST Institute of Civil Engineering, Oil & Gas Development Company, Procter & Gamble Pakistan (Pvt), Pak-Arab Refinery, Pakcem Ltd, Pakistan Cables, Pakistan International Bulk Terminal, Pakistan Oilfields Ltd, Pakistan Refinery, Patel Hospital, Pebbles (Pvt), Qarshi Industries (Pvt), Rafhan Maize Products Co., Roots School System, Siddiq Leather Works (Pvt), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd, Sui Southern Gas Company, United Marine Agencies (Pvt), United King, Pakistan Accumulators (Pvt), Water Regime (Pvt).