Climate Change Impact on Seasons in Pakistan

Climate change is an inevitable phenomenon which has lasting effects on the survival of mankind. Despite Pakistan’s vulnerability to Climate Change, it has been given less priority by the government due to other national issues of high concern. The climate change in Pakistan has resulted in extreme weather conditions, torrential rainfalls, irregular floods, droughts, sea-level rise, glacier melting etc. Currently, Pakistan has been ranked seventh among countries that are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. According to the World Bank report, Pakistan has suffered 3.86 billion losses annually due to climate change. The depletion of natural resources, water shortage and food insecurity are some of the risk factors because of rapid climate change trends in Pakistan. The climate change has grave impacts on the economy and health sector in Pakistan. In a recent monsoon rainfall distribution analysis by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), it has been reported that over the past three decades the climate change has resulted in a 100 kilometers spatial shift towards west in the overall monsoon pattern in Pakistan. There is a spatial as well as seasonal shift in the rainfall distribution patterns. The summer monsoon has shifted towards the end of the season and similarly the winter rains have shifted towards late February and March. The temperature rise in Pakistan has the potential to trigger rapid melting of glaciers in the North and leading to “flash floods” in the country.

Climate change is no longer a far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now. — Former President of USA Barack Obama.

Pakistan’s greenhouse gases emissions have doubled in last 2 decades. On a global scale, Pakistan ranks 135th in per capita GHG emissions in the world. The agriculture sector is the victim of abrupt climate change in a country. 65-70% of country’s population is directly or indirectly related to agriculture. The arid and semi-arid zones are the most vulnerable to climate change as these regions are already facing water shortage and high temperature. The seasonal changes are changing sowing time for crops which consequently changes irrigation requirements which modify the properties of soil and increase the risk of pest and disease attack, negatively altering agricultural productivity. The recent studies indicate that Pakistan’s 22.8% land and 49.6% population is at risk due to impacts of climate change. The diseases which are transmitted by vectors for example malaria, dengue cholera etc. Those are already causes of low mortality rate in Pakistan are climate sensitive. Climate change scenarios have resulted in an increase in the epidemic potential for 12-27 percent for malaria and 31-47 percent of dengue. People across Pakistan are now experiencing unpredictable rainfall, increased temperatures and changes to the seasons. Other changes vary by region, such as increased rainfall and extreme weather events in Sindh and decreased rainfall in Baluchistan. The Climate Asia Report found that compared with the other countries in this study, Pakistanis feel most strongly that these changes are having a high level of impact on their lives now (there were around 4,000 respondents to the survey in Pakistan). There are many solutions to climate change which involve community, individuals, governments and other agencies of the world. More and more trees should be planted. Energy should be used efficiently. Renewable power sources should be adopted. The garbage should not be burned or burry in landfills. It may be made composts for kitchen gardens. The loss of water in any form should be checked. Electric automobiles should be preferred. Recycling is one of the most effective ways to check carbon emissions. Media should spread awareness regarding the effects of climate change. Use eco-friendly appliances. The treatment of industrial waste should be made mandatory all over the world. Governments should start taking this problem seriously. They should start investing in projects which can try to minimize climate change. Plastic should not be used. Environment-friendly shopper bags should be used. Use of aerosol sprays should be minimized. The misuse of fertilizers should be avoided. Water should be used wisely. The power generation should be done by environmental friendly means. Conservation practices should be adopted regarding agriculture.

Food and its importance


World food day is celebrated annually on October 16th by 150 countries across the world is support of the FAO’s mission to use the event to raise awareness and to gather great support and understanding to the approaches that can help to end world hunger. This year’s theme calls for investing in rural development, for the international community to harness migration’s potential to support development and build the resilience of displaced and host community, thereby laying the ground for long-term recovery and inclusive and sustainable growth. Pope Francis has asked world governments to collectively work to end rising world hunger by working to stop the conflicts and climate-change related disasters that force people to leave their daily bread. Francis drew a standing ovation Monday at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, where he marked the U.N.’s World Food Day by calling for governments to work together to tackle the interconnected problems of hunger, global warming and migration.

In South Africa, one in four people do not have enough to eat, and half the population is at risk of hunger despite the country producing more than enough food, research by Oxfam shows. One 23-year-old mother who survives on piece jobs, often times only has R6 a day to feed her family of four.

Poor communities are squeezed due to lack of jobs, low levels of income, rising prices, lack of rights to land and water and climate change, an unfair, unsustainable food system that does not deliver sufficient food for everyone is largely to blame. Plus government policies are piecemeal, uncoordinated and under-resources. In addition, the food industry, which controls prices and availability of food, excludes small traders and farmers.

It’s a part of routine for many of us, our plates are stuffed with food and when unable to finish, the leftovers are easily scraped off into the bin. On many occasions, after large meals the leftover food is thrown away. It’s a common practice for many of the households without conceptualizing the magnitude of the global food waste in many countries. The amount of food lost and wasted every year is equal to more than half of the world’s annual cereal crops.

Seriously food waste is a national issue. Pakistan is a resourceful country the amount of food produced here can be sufficient for feeding the population, but lack of resources for food management and its distribution is the main problem. The food items include major commodities such as wheat, rice and sugar besides different vegetables and fruits. On the Global Hunger Index out of 118 developing countries, Pakistan is ranked at 107. To add more to these alarming statistics, it is estimated that 40% of food produced in Pakistan is wasted.

It’s a good sign that food banks are being set across the country, which try to reach out the hunger struck population. They collect the surplus food from various places and provide to the needy people. This food

after collection goes through quality assurance and after being sorted out is packed in small packages to be distributed.

Many NGOs are working for this cause, to utilize extra cooked food and give it to people who cannot afford a proper meal. This practice is conducted worldwide. A similar organization started this this work in Pakistan. In Karachi the Robin Hood Army commenced its activities in February 2015. Since its commencement it has fed millions in Karachi. Areas for food distribution are identified through scouting. The campaign is run by volunteers who are working professionals, students which also include school children. In Karachi more than 25 local eateries are contributing their leftover food for charity. In a detailed, many restaurants have their own policy for leftover food instead of throwing it away; they simply feed the poor on their own.

There is a war on food waste in many countries, like in France where the supermarkets have been banned from throwing away unsold food and restaurants must provide doggy bags when asked. By taking remarkable steps, France has secure top spot among the countries in food sustainability. France is the first country to introduce specific food waste legislation and loses only 1.8% of its total food production each year. By 2015 plans it further plans to reduce it to half.

Food sustainability is something which is being considered in the government’s agenda across the world. It is unethical and immoral to waste food resources when hundreds of millions of people remain hungry all across the world. We shouldn’t be relying on government, organizations, NGOs, food banks who work for reducing food waste. There is a need to adopt and promote a lifestyle that encourages sustainability for food resources and generate awareness for food waste reduction. Planning, preparing and soring food on an individual level can contribute to reducing food waste on a household level. Be mindful of old ingredients and leftovers you need to consume at first. By doing this you will waste less and may even find a new favorite dish by utilizing leftovers. When most of the items are kept neglected in refrigerators and ultimately discarded ending in bins. By making small changes in how you shop for, prepare, and store food, you cannot only save time but also money.

In 2012, the Food Network channel premiered a cooking show featuring world’s renowned chefs ‘The Big Waste’. The main feature of this cooking show was that the chefs who were competing in pairs to prepare a gourmet banquet meal, used food which was only intended for the landfill. That episode drew attention towards the issue of food waste.

If you can’t reduce wasted food, divert it from landfills. Landfill waste emits CO2 and methane, both of which are hazardous to the environment. Safe and untouched food can be donated to help those in need. Just look at the food wasted at weddings in Pakistan in particular. Together, this food can feed millions of people who go hungry. You can donate excess food to Robin Hood Army, who will surely collect and provide for the needy.

Climate Change Impact on Pakistan’s Water Sector

Concern has been growing in recent years regarding the potential impact of climate change on Pakistan’s already stressed water resources.Rising temperatures, increasing saltwater intrusion in  coastal areas, a growing threat of glacier lake outburst floods, more intense rainfall, and changes in monsoon and winter rainfall patterns are just some of the ways in which climate change is expected to affect Pakistan’s hydrologic resources. These risks amplify an already problematic situation given that Pakistan is among the most water stressed countries in the world. Of particular concern is the potential for climate change to affect water flows within the Indus Basin. The majority of Pakistan’s water is provided through the Indus River and its tributaries, which are fed primarily by snow and ice melt in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalaya Mountains. Any change in water flow in the Indus basin will have significant implications for food security in Pakistan given that 90 per cent of total agricultural production occurs on arable land supported by the Indus Basin Irrigation System (Qureshi, 2011).Pakistan relies on the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. Known as the Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS) for its basic food security and water supply for all sectors of the economy, it supports the basin comprising the Indus River main stem and its major tributaries—the Kabul, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej rivers. IBIS has 3 major multipurpose storage reservoirs, 19 barrages, 12 inter-river link canals, 45 major irrigation canal commands (covering over 18 million hectares), and more than 120,000 watercourses delivering water to farms and other productive uses.Despite increased food production, there has been no change over the past two decades in the estimated 25 percent of the population who are undernourished (FAOSTAT 2012). The National Nutrition Survey 2011 reports that 57 percent of the population does not have food security (Bhutta, 2012). The nival regime generates about 35 to 40 percent of total water flow in the Indus Basin (Immerzeel et al., 2010; Mukhopadhyay&Dutta, 2010; Savoskul&Smakhtin, 2013), which arises from the melting of snow that fell during the preceding winter plus spring precipitation.In contrast to the glacial regime, a consistently negative relationship between runoff and temperature has been reported for the nival regime (Yu et al., 2013; Archer & Fowler, 2008).A higher rate of winter precipitation, which would be consistent with historical trends, could lead to higher levels of summer runoff (Archer & Fowler, 2008; Laghari et al., 2012; Yu et al., 2013).All the changes due to climate change point to a greater risk of flooding during the monsoon season in the coming decades (World Bank, 2013).The studies carried out show that the volume of water flow in the Indus Basin will not change significantly prior to 2050 as decreases in glacial melt runoff will be compensated by runoff generated from increasing monsoon rainfall (Laghari et al., 2012; Shrestha et al., 2015; Yu et al., 2013).The scenario assumes that temperatures increase by 3°C, which would lead to an increase in agricultural water requirements of 6 percent by 2025 and 12 to 15 percent by 2050 (Amir and Habib, 2015). The following graph show the increased demand of water by 2050.

Establish a dedicated water demand research program to better understand future sector demands, potential trade-offs between different water users, specific costing for different water uses and actual water-use patterns. Investigate appropriate water pricing policies that will promote more efficient water useand sustainable management of water infrastructure.Strengthen streamflow monitoring in the Upper and Lower Indus basins.Undertake provincial-level vulnerability assessments to fully understand how climatechange will affect their water resources and the associated socioeconomic consequences. Foster the development of a climate change community of practice in Pakistan.

Water scarcity leads to Food insecurity

“Global Warming is not a prediction, it is happening”

Climate change is a global phenomenon, but their impacts are more pronounced in South Asia during the past few decades, which challenges food security in this region.

Thus, Pakistan facing frequent climate change induced annual drought and floods. Once, Pakistan known a water surplus country and now a water deficient country. The rain fall is neither sufficient, nor regular, to meet the growing needs of water. Yet we are wasting water on daily bases.

The surface water resources in Pakistan mainly the Indus River and its tributaries, which bring is about 138 million acre feet of water annually. The Indus River alone provide 65% of the total river flows.

The flow during the Kharif is 84% and during Rabi season is 16% in Pakistan.

Pakistan always face food shortage due to water scarcity and 47% population is food insecure. The production of food is greatly dependent on irrigation. So, Pakistan required new strategies to enhance water use efficiency, maintain and improve the quality and sustainability of resources base at Basin and water shed level. Pakistan need to invest soon in increasing rain water harvesting by increasing storage capacity of water.

Long term strategies may include the construction of large storage dams, better flood and drought forecasting mechanisms and resolving water distribution problems in all over Pakistan.

Short term strategies to save water are careful use of water in our daily use, campaigns and advocacy to ensure lesser water wastage, people in urban areas are wasting a lot of water in car wash, street cleaning, and other recreational activities these need to stop. Because water we waste in urban areas are causing a lot of trouble for the people in rural areas and causing damage to our agriculture. We are killing the rights of the people who are now deprived of the water because of our wastage of water.