Hundreds march in Lahore for action against climate change

Published November 9, 2021
Civil Society activists participate in a climate march held from Shimla Pahari to Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Egerton Road. — White Star
Civil Society activists participate in a climate march held from Shimla Pahari to Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Egerton Road. — White Star

LAHORE: Hundreds of climate activists participated in a climate march held from Simla Pahari till Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Egerton Road on the call of the civil society organisations on Monday.

Holding placards and chanting slogans, they demanded the government launch meaningful action against climate change. Some of the slogans on the placards called for action to control climate change, stopping pollution and unbridled consumption of fossil fuel.

In order to sound the alarm about the climate emergency, the participants were wearing red shirts with the slogan, “Climate revolution, not pollution”.

Speaking to the marchers, Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee’s Farooq Tariq demanded immediate halt of the coal-based energy projects. He said gas and oil-based energy systems were not only expensive but detrimental to the environment. He said sustainable energy methods needed to be adopted to make the country become self-sufficient in energy.

Environmental lawyer Ahmed Rafay Alam said the problem of climate change could not be left to political parties as everyone needed to play their part. He said Pakistan had to fulfil its promise of phasing out coal-based energy that it announced last year. He stressed adoption of alternative resources to produce energy.

Zaighum Abbas, a representative of Asia People for Debt & Development, said climate change could not be addressed without radical transformation of capitalist production. He added that the environment was destroyed primarily by big corporations, which had prioritised profits instead of the environment.

Ammar Ali Jan of the Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement said the increase in smog in Lahore was because of the unregulated large industrial sector. He said closure of the brick kiln industry was no solution to control smog as it deprived the kiln workers of their jobs.

Ayesha Ahmed said because of the government’s negligence and lack of understanding of climate issues, Lahore was now the most polluted city on earth. She added that environmentally costly projects such as Ravi Urban Development Project must be abandoned and land grabbing in the name of development must be stopped.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2021

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