PRIME Minister Imran Khan recently launched the Clean Green Pakistan Index, a flagship initiative that will at its start rank 19 cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab on cleanliness and green outlook.
This is a commendable effort and an innovative approach to mitigate the hazardous impact of climate change in Pakistan. The project will judge cities on the standards of sanitation, beautification and utilisation of public spaces.
This project should include the newly merged tribal districts for there is absolutely no concept of modern sanitation system in the tribal areas. Public toilets are a taboo subject and even toilets in homes are regarded abodes of the devil.
On the other hand, haphazard urbanisation is playing havoc with the serenity and beauty of the tribal districts, and there is no government department to stop this growing menace. As a result, there has been an alarming increase in deforestation in the tribal areas.
One ponders what would happen if the newly merged tribal districts fail to respond to climate change in a befitting manner? What type of world would we be living in 20 years from now?
The other two essential features of the new initiative include beautification and the usability of public spaces. One suspects no data is available on the number of public spaces in the tribal districts. Furthermore, the sustainable cities concept needs to be extended to the newly merged tribal districts as their infrastructure is in ruins. This is a threat to the environment’s sustainability.
The government has to come up with a comprehensive plan to address the effects of climate change in the tribal districts.
Muhammad Arif Khan
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019