In The ‘MAHA’ Scheme Of Things

In The ‘MAHA’ Scheme Of Things

The people of Pakistan coastal areas let out a sigh of relief upon hearing the news that cyclone Maha will pose no threat to them, according to chief meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz. The havoc created by cyclone Kyarr was there for all to be seen, as water entered the homes in Hub and also flooding Gadani and Goth Abdullah’s causeway as well. Although the cyclone is expected to move towards Gujrat in India, one should not turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the travesties caused by the storm as it paints a big picture.

As the seasons progressed in the year 2019 it was apparent that the intensity of the weather had increased when compared to last year and this pattern has been consistent for many years now. These changes in weather and now these monster cyclones forming near the coastal areas of Pakistan can be jot down to climate change. According to GFDL (Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory), tropical cyclone intensity will increase globally on average 1-10% for every 2 degrees Celsius in global warming. This is a cause for concern, as temperatures are rising by the day and so too is the sea-level.

It is crucial for us to understand that climate change is a real global threat and it is a threat that is imminent, therefore it is crucial that we adopt policies and attitudes in our country to help share the load.

Awareness About Climate Change

It is essential to spread quality information to the people about climate change, especially in a country like Pakistan, where people lack basic education. A change in attitude is required when it comes to the environment and for that people need to be shepherded into developing climate change trends.

So how can we create awareness? For the initial step we have to go towards the roots and that is the primary level of education. Children should be taught about climate change and instill in them, environmentally-friendly habits.

An informal step can be the use of media techniques to spread information. Like the polio campaign which is having a dramatic effect on the rumors created about the vaccine, a campaign on climate change is also needed to be tailored for the people of Pakistan. One thing we can do, regarding media strategies is to create positive propaganda. Trends can also be set to help support the cause, using social media as a fundamental tool to not only spread information but also encourage people. But educating the masses can only take us so far, hence policies are needed to be made by the government.

Promoting Efficient Policies

The first thing that the state has to do is set a limit on carbon emissions, it is of the utmost importance that limits be created and these limits be enforced. But this is only for the short term, alongside this a long term plan is also required which works its way towards carbon neutrality.

When we talk about carbon emissions, we can’t forget talking about HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), which is a super greenhouse gas. These gases are most commonly emitted from air-conditioners and refrigerants, to control these HFCs our government can follow the model of California. California has set a target of reducing much of the HFC emission by 2030, in addition to this they have also prohibited the use of refrigerants and air conditioners which have a high global warming potential.

When you look at some of the cities of Pakistan one thing is clear to see and that is the shear amount of vehicles there are. The amount of pollution caused by these vehicles cannot be overlooked and at the same time, one cannot make policies on prohibiting vehicular usage, as it is impossible to enforce and also impractical. So what can we do? For starters we can make it easier for people to leave their vehicles and that can be done by making an efficient and cost effective public transport system. An underground subway would do wonders for the people, especially that of Karachi. We have seen some work done on this over the past few years but it is not enough, more needs to be done in the various metropolises of this country.

One of the most obvious contributor of climate change is plastic, as it is not bio-degradable. Plastic is in everything we use and hence to get rid of it we have to think of, again, long term strategy. The government needs to make it easier to pass on plastic. Immediately banning the use of all plastic objects is impractical. The government needs to set a target year, like the California model, we talked about earlier, and slowly work on achieving it.

Last but certainly not the least there is a dire need of green belts in Pakistan. Plantations outside the city is necessary, not only to clean the air but also prevent soil erosion. The heat wave of the last five years has shown us how desperately we need green belts in Pakistan and with the memory of the Amazon forest fire still fresh in our memory, we are in more need of plantations than ever.

Cyclone Kyarr and Maha were clear indications that there has been a certain shift. It isn’t too late for us to change, we still have time to rectify our global footprint because a little effort goes a long way in the ‘Maha’ scheme of things.

Author = Fahad Ahmed

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