Pakistan heading towards becoming water-scarce country: minister

Published June 6, 2022
Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman addresses a press conference on May 16. —Photo Courtesy: Radio Pakistan
Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman addresses a press conference on May 16. —Photo Courtesy: Radio Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Expressing concern over the ongoing global climate crisis, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman on Sunday said Pakistan was set to become one of the first five water-scarce countries if no immediate action was taken.

The country is particularly afflicted and the immediacy of climate change cannot be stressed upon any further,” the minister said on the occasion of World Environment Day.

Pakistan had faced the warmest months on record since 1961, with temperatures ranging from 3 to 6 degrees centigrade warmer than normal, she said, adding that the country had a harsh and lengthy heatwave with no breezy spring.

“Summer came early, giving us the longest heatwave in Pakistan’s history,” she said.

Sherry says the country experienced the longest heatwave in its history

“Pakistan must act to save its resources as much as possible. We must work at home to conserve our water, and stop polluting the sea, the air and our soil,” Ms Rehman said, adding that “90pc of our plastics, plastic bags, single-use plastic bottles are ending up in our seas and rivers, which are being consumed by the fish and marine life we eat”.

The minister called on national governments to join the conversation, create clear national action plans and promote research to combat this triple threat.

She went on to say that youth were instrumental in carrying out critical climate action and were paramount to changing the future for all.

“It becomes clearer every day that the world is on an unsustainable trajectory. The UN acknowledges it, as does the UNEP in recognising the triple threat of climate change to human health and prosperity,” the minister said, adding that the World Meteorological Department had already reported a dangerous 50:50 chance of average global temperature reaching 1.5 degrees centigrade in the next five years.

“The recent multilateral meetings have made a series of action pledges at the global level to reduce GHG emissions by the end of the century to control the rising temperatures to pre-industrial levels,” the minister said, adding that, however, the roadmap to such goals had become blurred.

“We have the human right to a healthy environment, a world where we breathe a little easier, but with continuous assault on our Earth by big corporations and rich countries, there is no stopping the temperature rise,” she added.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2022

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