One of the major causes of poverty in Pakistan is environmental degradation. Because it affects and causes in the reduction of natural resources such as air, water, and soil; besides in Pakistan, there is the high destruction of ecosystems, habitat destruction, deforestation, the extinction of wildlife and pollution. Thousands of people’s sources of income are associated with ecosystems. If it is depleted where then those poor people will go?
The depletion of natural environmental resources have no doubt caused unprecedented rainfall, cyclones, flooding, earthquakes, drought and such other climatic roars that hamper the economic progress of the Pakistan. This, we also have been observing since last two to three decades.
The extreme conditions of the weather in Pakistan like the floods and heavy rains in 1992, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015. Besides cyclone in 1999, the earthquake in 2005, and an ongoing drought-like situation in the desert of the Thar have significantly affected not only the socio-economic situation but also have damaged infrastructure at enormous scale.
The effects of environmental degradation on the economy are irreversible and it is the less touched challenge in Pakistan. The government does not take environmental degradation as a critical issue.
We are an agrarian developing country where about 24pc GDP depends on the agriculture sector. But unfortunately, due to environmental degradation, our economy is encountering huge losses in the sector.
We already are running short of forested areas and the other hand there is the destruction of remaining forested areas, wetlands are being polluted due to disposing of waste water in it, grasslands and pastures have been reduced and agricultural lands are being decayed due to increasing water-logging. Moreover, owing to the environmental dilapidation, several species of birds and plants have become rare. The fish stock in the wetlands has been depleted – the communities who used to depend on fishing are migrated to the semi-urban settlements.
Due to the severe consequences of environmental degradation, we are facing the problems of land degradation, erosion, and super-flooding this destruction ultimately affects the overall national economy and mostly poor and marginalized communities are affected.
There is no role of forestation in GDP of Pakistan; even forestation in Pakistan is on alarmingly declining. Besides, our environmental degradation is ultimately affecting our overall economic spectrum.
According to the findings of Word Bank in partnership with National Disaster Management Authority, the Ministry of Finance, the securities and exchange commission of Pakistan, the provincial disaster management authorities and the provincial finance departments in 2015 stated that Pakistan causes 3 to 4pc economic loss on the federal budget due to flooding and heavy rains.
The report further analyzes that the annual economic impact of flooding is estimated between US $ 1.2 billion and US $ 1.8 billion, equivalent to between 0.5pc and 0.8pc of national GDP; however simulations show that a major flood event (occurring, on average, once every 100 years) could cause losses in excess of US $ 15.5 billion, which equates to around 7pc of national GDP, equivalent to almost 40pc of the Federal Budget.
According to the Global Climate Risk Index (2017) by Germanwatch indicates that Pakistan is at the high global climate risk it is at number 7th. The risks globally have been analyzed between 1996 up to 2015. Furthermore, the report says that Pakistan has faced 133 natural disaster events, where there is 0.647pc loss in GDP and the total loss in million is US$ 3823.17.
This is a very alarming issue in Pakistan and in future can cause lots of humans as well as economic loss. Awareness at the very grassroots level should be initiated. The government should make such a mechanism which could help people understand the importance of environmental degradation. The forestation movements need to be initiated. The students in universities, colleges and schools should be sensitized about increasing environmental degradation and they should be motivated to plan trees.