Environmental Woes of Balochistan

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Environmental Woes of Balochistan 

Muhammad Jahangeer Kakar 

Environment and climate change are the prospective strategic gridlines that would define the international fraternity of relations. The prosperity and longevity of nations around the world would be both defined and jeopardized by the elements of environmental preservation and climate change management. Pakistan in general and the Balochistan, in particular, are threatened by the climate change shifts and the thrones of environmental degradation.

Balochistan attains a peculiar nature both in terms of geographic extension as well as the various trends associated due to this expansive bounty. It is the gift of nature that we are turning into a potential curse.

The documentation of environmental laws is insufficient and not in currency thereby making it less effective being less responsive. The inequality of law with time and space has made it hard for implementing the environmental restrain necessary to cause a chance that one would want to see around intangible meters. Other than the Balochistan Environmental Protection Act 2012, there are no rules, regulations, or Provincial Environmental Quality Standards ever framed that could regulate the issues of environmental hazardousness.

The insufficient law further has given out a polarized institutional dichotomy which is also affecting the dealing with environment and climate change as the horrors of the near future. The complete missing links between the departments of the forest, agriculture, water management, and environment are not systemically and institutionally addressed. Reason would demand a synergized level where these various departments would focus on working together with a jointly hatched intuitional framework that could allow for information passage, initiatives segmentation and avoid parallelism in terms of applications of actions. This could also produce joint results and could gauge the grey areas. The hollow base in terms of legal terrain has raised an infractious institutional pyramid which is aiming a cry in the wilderness.

Balochistan is a land of mysterious habitat. Its environmental issues are multifaceted. The long coast remains unwatched in terms of coastal and marine life preservation. There is no documented study that has yet scaled and mapped the condition of the coastal life with the mapping of various types of marine and aquatic species, the climate record measurement, the environmental conditions and baselines, and the quality of the marine environment. There can be said to be no institutional arrangement making one department completely responsible for looking at these parameters.

Rapid industrialization along the coast in Lasbella, Gwadar districts going unchecked 

The rapid industrialization along the coast and especially in the coastal districts of Lasbella and Gwadar go unchecked and are at large as of this moment. The industrialization is good enough but its goodness at the expense of environmental degradation would be a sorry compromise we may be intentionally or unintentionally making up. The Gaddani Shipbreaking yard could one day result as the Wuhan of China as it hosts the most hazardous activity of shipbreaking which is like inviting the thick dirt of the world to our clean, green, and serene shores. The cost-benefit analysis of this and other such activities along the cost remains something yet to be done though it has been so long to have been so earlier done.

Increasing urbanization another reason for environmental nuisance 

The unchecked urbanization is another cause of environmental nuisance. The dearth of amenities and facilities of life and livelihood have pushed the rural populace to shift and center around the urban centers of which the provincial capital city of Quetta takes precedence over all other cities of the province. The city has detonated into one large stockpile of human pollution without any town planning, the invocation of town management rules, and facilities. The air pollution caused by transportation has been on the ever-increasing rise with no controls over the fitness of vehicles plied on the roads. The lack of environmental fitness verification and the customary traffic licenses by the police have thrown the environmental hazards of pollution in the backyard.

Deforestation another reason for the environmental  woes of Balochistan 

The depleting forest cover and the utterly diminishing green areas in the province are posing threats for the variety of flora and fauna in the province. Due to ineffective efforts and plans by the respective forest department and agriculture department are making it hard to implement the designs of green Balochistan.

The institutional capacity of meeting up the challenges has to be well complemented. Given the typical public sector organizational mode, it would not be positive to be expecting such a grand change overnight. The use of technology, science, and research through professionals and academicians has to form a leading front to guide the entire body of the policy cycle. It is late to attend the call of change but it would rather be more chaotic if we still miss this opportunity as we missed others, many times.

Environmental Woes of Balochistan

The writer is the Director-General Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Balochistan. Mr. Kakar has been contributing to express tribune and other newspapers on various issues. 

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