KARACHI: Governments cannot address environmental issues and challenges alone; they always need support from the masses. The laws can be introduced and implemented by governments but if society does not adopt them in letter and spirit then goals cannot be achieved.

These views were expressed by Murtaza Wahab, the adviser to chief minister Sindh for the environment, during a one-day seminar on sustainable solutions towards population growth and environmental degradation held at the University of Karachi on Tuesday, says a press release.

The department of sociology and KU’s Institute of Environmental Studies arranged the day-long event at the Arts Auditorium in collaboration with Global Green, an NGO.

“I was very hopeful when the bill against plastic bags was introduced in the province. But owing to lukewarm response and support from the public, we still [have] not achieved the desired results. The people should support the cause and participate in making Sindh clean and green.”

He asked the audience to point out problems they were facing in their neighbourhoods and approach the Sindh government so that those issues could be resolved on a priority basis. He said that the provincial government is seriously working on increasing the number of trees in Sindh and set a “world record” by planting the largest number of mangroves in the coastal belts of the province on two different occasions.

Murtaza Wahab added that the provincial government has planted more than 50,000 plants just in three months. Sindh government is also going to initiate waste management pilot project in upcoming days and due to financial issues, the provincial government would seek help from the private sector.

Meanwhile, acting KU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi said as a nation we should follow the law of the land as governments could not provide facilities without the support and backing of the masses.

The KU VC mentioned that solid waste, garbage and filthy roads are commonly seen in the city. “We have chopped down trees and spread buildings across the city without realising how much it will affect the environment. This is the right time to come up with policies which discourage high-rise buildings at every corner of the city.”

He shared that since August 16, 2019, the KU has planted around 50,000 plants in different locations of the varsity. Professor Dr Moazzam Ali Khan of Institute of Environment Studies claimed that Karachi and Lahore are now considered among the most populated cities across the globe.

“Karachi is facing severe water, air, marine pollution, and solid waste material is spread all over the city due to which it has lost its carrying capacity.” He said that over 80 per cent of the water supply to the city is contaminated and unfit for human consumption.

Professor Dr Nabeel Ahmed Zubairi of department of sociology observed that majority of the population of the city is facing respiratory problems mainly due to air and water pollution.

He said that every citizen should fulfil his or her responsibilities and practically support government departments so that civic issues could be addressed at the earliest.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2020

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