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ISLAMABAD: Though the clash of civilisations is frequently discussed, their merger is rarely talked about, said Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Abu Ahmed Akif during the launch of the Urdu translation of ‘Pakistan Environmental Challenges and Measures for Pollution Control’ on Thursday.

The launch of the book by Dr Mehmood A. Khawaja, translated by the Ahmed Saleem Research Centre, was hosted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

Mr Akif said books should be frequently translated into other languages in order to help understand the problems, cultures, customs and challenges of other countries.

Having translated five books himself, Mr Akif said Urdu is not considered important enough to learn properly and that the exams of the Central Superior Services (CSS) were also conducted in English.

“With time, we have replaced Urdu words with those from English in our everyday conversations. We should give Urdu more importance and start using it more in daily conversations,” he said.

Talking about the translated book, the climate change secretary said the book was an important one and that English words were used in the Urdu translation of it as well.

Numl Translation Department head Dr Khalid Iqbal said that translating books from other languages is very important and that even re-writing books in simpler language is beneficial.

“Part of the reason the Japanese were able to progress was because they translated important books from English to Japanese in the 19th century. A number of institutions for translation do exist in Pakistan, but they do not do anything,” he said.

Renowned writer and poet Ahmed Saleem said that a country cannot achieve sustainable development if its people were not aware of the issues it was facing.

“Research papers are written in English and the common man does not get to know about them. And though a number of books have been translated into Urdu, the sale of Urdu books is also not very encouraging, and we should also see to that,” he said.

Ministry of Climate Change Deputy Director Chemicals Dr Zaigham Abbas said all the chapters of Mr Khawaja’s book were related to the common man, especially those on the hazards of Mercury use.

“Mercury is used to manufacture cosmetics, which is very dangerous, as is the use of the chemical in ship breaking. There is also a chapter on the use of lead pencils, which can be hazardous to children,” he said.

Chairman Environmental Sciences at the Fatima Jinnah Women University Dr Shazia Iftikhar said that even the air, water and soil in Pakistan have been contaminated.

“Our fruit and vegetables have also been contaminated due to the use of pesticides and fertilisers,” she said.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2016