As climate change worsens, extreme weather events will become more common and severe. They will also affect us differently than before. For example, heat waves will cause more deaths and injuries. At the same time, heavy rains and floods will lead to increased flooding and damage to infrastructure.
Recent floods in Pakistan are an apt example of this phenomenon. The death toll from floods and rain-related incidents has risen to 1,603. In contrast, 2.3 million people have been displaced, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said in a statement.
Besides floods and heatwaves, Smog has become a visible problem in many Pakistani cities. Air pollution is a mix of industrial and vehicle emissions, burning trash, and open fires for cooking and heating. Smog season usually begins in October and continues through February.
It causes various health problems, including eye irritation, coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. It can also aggravate heart and lung conditions. Young children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions are especially vulnerable to the effects of Smog. This is not to talk about winter, which is predicted to be quite harsh due to climate change.
The effects and Cost of climate change in Pakistan
A recent study found that climate change has already caused $9.5 billion in damage to Pakistan’s infrastructure.
The devastating floods of 2022 have wreaked havoc on Pakistan’s economy, leaving the country in a state of emergency.
The floods have destroyed crops, inundated homes, and businesses, and disrupted transportation and communication infrastructure. The International Monetary Fund has also estimated that the floods will shave 2.5 percentage points off Pakistan’s GDP growth in 2022.
These floods had a widespread and far-reaching impact on our economy. The floods significantly reduced agricultural output, wiping off crops worth an estimated $3 billion. This loss of agricultural output is likely to lead to increased food prices, as Pakistan is a net food importer.
The manufacturing sector has also been hard hit, with factories being flooded and damaged by the waters. The tourism industry has been affected significantly, as many hotels, restaurants, and other businesses have been destroyed. The overall situation is quite alarming, but the question is, are we paying a considerate amount of attention to this issue as a Nation?
What is Pakistan doing about climate change?
Despite having extreme climate change, including floods, droughts, and extreme weather events, Pakistan has been slow to act on climate change. The Pakistani government has only recently begun acknowledging the threat of climate change. In 2016, the government released its first-ever National Climate Change Policy. The policy outlines some actions Pakistan will take to address climate change, but critics say it does not go far enough. Additionally, the ruling government cannot be expected to do much in the wake of the unprecedented political upheaval. So what do we, as Pakistani, do in this regard? Let’s look at some practical and actionable solutions that can be adopted on individual levels.
What we can do to mitigate:
As a Pakistani, I firmly believe we can achieve whatever goal we want as a nation. So, here are some things we can do to help fight climate change on an individual level:
- Educate ourselves and others about the issue of climate change. The more people are aware of the problem, the more they will be prone to take action.
- Reduce your energy consumption. This includes turning off lights when you leave a room, taking shorter showers, and avoiding unnecessarily high settings on your thermostat.
- Drive less and walk or bike more. This reduces your carbon footprint and has the bonus of being good for your health! Even if it’s difficult, let’s promote carpooling culture.
- We can also save water by turning the faucet off while brushing our teeth and watering our plants during the cooler hours of the day.
- Another way to help reduce the effects of climate change is to eat less meat. It might sound weird to you, but Meat production creates many greenhouse gases, so people can help reduce these emissions by eating less meat.
- We can also help by reducing waste and recycling more. By doing these things individually, We can significantly impact the effort to counteract the global climate crisis.
- Last but not least, plant a tree with the hope of giving a better future to the next generation.
To summarize the whole discussion, we can say that the sooner we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the less severe the impacts will be. We need to support policies accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy and reducing emissions. We also need to adapt to the changes that are already underway. But most importantly, we need to act now.