Call for wastewater recycling to increase forest cover

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Wastewater recycling systems should be immediately introduced in Karachi to increase green coverage without further depleting water resources for city residents.

It was one of the unanimous demands of speakers who took the floor during a debate entitled “Climate change and our responsibilities” at the Arts Council. The National Forum for Health and Environment (NFEH) in conjunction with the Arts Council organized the program to mark World Environment Day.

Speakers, including concerned environmentalists, were of the view that domestic sewage could easily be recycled for use in increasing the city’s forest cover. Apart from recycling sewage for planting trees, the city should have a proper public transport system to meet the daily needs of Karachiites with minimum damage to the environment.

They lamented that a proper public transport system had to be built in Karachi after its population surpassed three million, but the facility was still lacking despite the provincial capital soon to be home to around 30 million people. people.

Environmentalist Saquib Ejaz Hussain has pointed out that work should be expedited to complete the network of bus rapid transit systems in Karachi as it is the first ever modern mass transit system to control harmful emissions from vehicles. He said waste water from kitchens and bathrooms in Karachi homes should be recycled.

Senior journalist Afia Salam said Pakistan ranked fifth on the global vulnerability index of countries most affected by climate change. She said the government should wake up to the situation of rising mercury levels in urban areas, adding that measures to tackle recurrent heat waves should not be limited to setting up stalls. roadside cold water, a long-term and effective strategy should be adopted to combat the problem of climate change.

Shabina Faraz, who writes extensively on environmental issues, said the mass transit system should be introduced in Karachi without further delay. She said the public transit system would not only reduce vehicle loads on the city’s roads, but also allow hundreds of thousands of girls and women to travel safely daily for their educational and professional needs.

She said extreme weather conditions in Thar had contributed to an alarming rise in suicides in the desert region of Sindh and high mercury levels were behind frequent incidents of domestic violence. She said the people of Thar had to bear economic losses as climate change did not allow agriculture in the most backward region of Sindh.

Dr Raza Gardesi, general secretary of Citizens for the Environment, said good personal habits, such as proper disposal of waste without throwing it away, would go a long way towards improving the environment.

Former MPA Mehtab Akbar Rashdi told the audience that she had been chief executive of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency for six years and then environment secretary when the bureaucracy felt strongly that such postings for a civil servant were of no use. Rashdi recalled that with the help of the then Head of Schools, the late Anwaar Ahmed Zai, she established 700 environmental clubs comprising students from Karachi. She said these environmental clubs frequently organize activities to highlight the importance of good practices such as energy and water conservation and tree planting. She said strict criminal penalties should be taken against the offending industries responsible for spreading the pollution.

The Administrator of Karachi, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, who was the chief guest on the occasion, assured the delegation that the Municipality of Karachi would do its best to implement all the recommendations of the competition to improve the city ​​environment. He lamented that cemeteries in Karachi have sufficient green cover but there are fewer trees for the city’s residents.

Wahab said future generations should know the importance of planting trees. He told the public that he had planted a tree in his house each time his son and daughter were born and the trees were now as old as his children, advising citizens to adopt the same practice to play their part. in improving the environment.

NFEH President Naeem Qureshi and General Secretary Ruqiya Naeem also spoke on the occasion and reiterated their non-governmental organization’s determination to organize more such programs to raise awareness of pressing environmental issues.

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