There is no doubt in it that Pakistan would have to be environmental standards compliant if it wants to have a healthy nation and desires to do business with the rest of the world. It would have to look more vigorously into all environment related issues ranging from fast increasing level air pollution to water pollution and noise pollution. 

Today, when the whole scenario has been changed and world has become a global village, environmental issues could easily demolish the economy of any country because all major countries including European Union have set very strict environmental standards and are reluctant to import goods, specially food,  from countries facing the environmental problems like Pakistan. Pakistan is already facing many crisis including energy, law and order and political instability etc, therefore, it can’t afford more crisis. Government and masses have to pay attention towards the issue of pollution; otherwise it would not only play a major role to derail Pakistan’s economy but also adverse effects on our future generations.

A study report of World Health Organisation (WHO) says “in the developing world, pollution is guilty for 5% of total demises”. As far as Lahore is concerned, near 65,000 people die every year while 1300 people lose their lives because of diseases  produced by the polluted environment. A medical expert has also revealed that 22% Lahoris are suffering from Asthma, a disease that born and grow in only polluted environment.

Pakistani people are facing three types of pollution, air, water and land. Major reason of air pollution is rapidly increasing vehicles, thanks to car leasing schemes of banks. Approximately, daily 12 lakh vehicles travel on the roads of Lahore city and number of vehicle escalating with the ratio of 15 to 20 percent annually. Though, high petroleum prices have encouraged the people to use CNG as fuel in their vehicles, still the usage of petrol is on the higher side and creating serious environmental issues.

Noise is also a kind of pollution. Vehicles at roads and machines in factories make noise throughout the day and disturb the whole atmosphere while illiterate and senseless drivers are also responsible to poison the environment as they are use to use horns without any need and hesitation. They do not care whether they are making it in the front of a hospital, school mosque or residential area. Noise pollution is putting heavy mental strain on the people of Lahore. Besides increasing blood pressure and stress levels, noise pollution can also put deadly effects on hearing. Water pollution infects the water and makes it unfit for drinking and other human use. It is also a major cause of most of the water-borne diseases like Hepatitis and dysentery and skin problems. 

It is a matter of satisfaction that PML-N Government has initiated a campaign to create awareness among the masses, regarding deadly and unaffordable effects of pollution. This awareness would be enhanced through newspapers, television, workshops and seminars gradually. Awareness in masses could be very helpful to curtail pollution problems hurriedly. Indian government has done a lot to curtail the pollution and yield very positive results by initiating awareness campaign. A large number of Indian drivers turn their vehicle engines off at traffic signal, not only to save some fuel but also to control pollution generated by fuel.

Forests not only help to reduce the environmental problems but also control temperature. In Pakistan a large number of trees are being “murdered” without any adequate efforts to plant new plants. This leads to deforestation, which has caused a rise in the pollution levels and distortion of natural order. Government should not only take measures to protect the existing forests but also start growing non-natural jungles like Changa Manga.

I do want to share with you that why I chose the environmental issue at this point in time when the whole world is facing financial constraints. Actually the global recession has provided us an opportunity to increase our exports to the desired levels but to my understanding the environmental issues are coming in the way quite prominently.

To my understanding, the private sector in Pakistan alone can not handle the environment related issues and neither the government can do it. Both the sides would have to join hands to tackle the situation. Like neighbouring India who sensing the gravity of pollution situation Delhi, converted all its public transport on CNG, we would have to take some solid and sector specific measures to deal with the monster.

We should start “war against pollution” to save not the economy alone but the whole nation as well otherwise our future generation will not forgive us.