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With a population roughly half that of the United States in an area slightly less than the size of two California's, Pakistan is experiencing unwanted growth. While projections indicate that the population growth rate of Pakistan may actually be decreasing, those same projections also predict that by the year 2050 Pakistan will have assumed its place as the third most populated nation in the world. A rapidly growing population, along with political tensions, both internal and external, and an economy trapped in a cycle of debt, all serve to prevent Pakistan from attaining the progress it needs to advance, and perhaps to survive. INTERNAL PROBLEMS War against terror The tragedy now unfolding in Pakistan is occurring due the pursuit of shortsighted policies by the United States as well as the Pakistan government and military. The US has pressured Pakistan into engaging in brutal military operations in Bajaur and Swat, with no regard for how this would affect its own vital interests in the region. The Pakistani rulers (bedazzled by the glitter of all those promised billions) have meekly complied in waging war on parts of their own people, again with no thought to the likely outcome for them and their country. The main impact of this has been to the civilian population, some million and a half of whom have been displaced (with many killed and maimed, although no figures for these are yet available). Incidentally, what Pakistan is doing is little different from what Sudan did in Darfur and what the Sri Lankan government is now doing – fighting an insurgency with minimal or no regard for civilians in the area. This got Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir indicted as a war criminal, while the Sri Lankan government is the object of widespread condemnation in the West. Even Israel got a few taps on its knuckles for its indiscriminate brutality in Gaza. Pakistan, however, is being widely lauded for its resolute “war on terror”. Apparently, causing avoidable human suffering while waging this particular war is more palatable than in other cases. Taliban are the real threat that the United States faces in this theatre, and recommended what might be a rational policy for it to pursue. This was to first shore up Pakistan instead of waging a war in Afghanistan (with Pakistan forced to act in a supporting role). A failure to do this risked losing Pakistan to the Islamists, which would render pointless whatever the US could achieve in Afghanistan. The likelihood of such a policy being adopted is nil, unfortunately, since the present administration has continued the Bush practice of letting generals set national policy in this theatre. The generals are fixated on their war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan figures only as an often-reluctant subordinate player in their operations. What remains to be described is how this tragedy will likely unfold as Pakistan slides ever closer to an Islamist takeover. The current military operation in Swat (like the earlier one in Bajaur) consists mainly of subjecting successive areas to heavy bombardment from the air
That is unlikely. and he is unlikely to be able to remain in power for long. Washington will twist some arms and thump some tables. who had moved into Swat from the adjoining tribal area (FATA).2 and the ground. The Taliban militants who have infiltrated into the cities and towns will stage bombings and attacks in them. but considerably worse than the one now occurring in Baluchistan). Pakistan is not a very strong and stable structure as it is. or an Islamist military junta. is extremely unpopular (in an opinion poll conducted by the International Republican Institute in March 2009 he was the most disliked politician in Pakistan (72%) with only 17% liking him). he and his subservience to the US will be blamed. and his policy of unlimited support for US policies in the region. This will probably cause US (and international) aid to dry up. and the hapless Pakistan military will have to go in and clean up FATA as it did Bajaur and Swat. Sharif is currently displaying a somewhat tentative friendship for the US. (The delegation from Dubai is ever ready to depart. shooting at anyone they encounter (including unfortunate civilians trying to flee). Mr. to meet the same indifferent care that the refugees from Bajaur and Swat received. the US war in Afghanistan will continue. leaving behind local diehards to attain the honour of martyrdom (those not so inclined merely bury their weapons and mingle with the escaping refugees). allowing an insurgency to grow in this area (low-level. Zardari’s most likely replacement will either be his political rival. Taliban infiltration and Pashtun alienation (due to these operations by a largely Punjabi military) will likely lead to the collapse of government in the NW Frontier province. under all these additional pressures and complications. When conditions in the country worsen due to the “war on terror”. Mr. except to hugely inflate some bank accounts in obscure tax havens. Mr. Asif Zardari (the facade of democracy notwithstanding). and the need to stop the Taliban from using the FATA as a base and launching pad for attacks will intensify. or military intervention). Meanwhile. uttering in farewell those immortal words that Douglas Adams put into the mouths of his departing celestial dolphins: So long. Nawaz Sharif. and again anyone seen outside is shot (often civilians trying to flee or seek food and water). What is most likely is a change in the present governance structure. and as this exacerbates the country’s problems. but scattered garrisons and air attacks will not be able to stop guerrillas from using it as a base to attack both Afghanistan and Pakistan (nor will magical drones manipulated from balmy Florida). and thanks for all the fish). Zardari. Pakistan is currently ruled by one man. All this will intensify the many internal strains and problems already plaguing Pakistan (which I spelt out in my earlier article). FATA will become a depopulated free-fire zone. if he comes into power on a wave of anti-US sentiment (whether through an early election. But. his policies will be radically different from those of the present government. he will have to . though it remains a possibility at the end of a long chain of adverse events. a popular movement. behind which ground troops advance. The Taliban will not only fade away into the hills and caves of FATA and Afghanistan. The ethnic conflict now simmering in Karachi will escalate. Casual or uninformed outside observers are quick to predict the break-up of Pakistan under pressure. something has to give. have mostly slipped back to their own areas. The area thus occupied is then subjected to an indefinite curfew. Mr. Throwing US money at this mess will not make much difference. The hardened Taliban militants. Another miserable wave of destitute Pashtun refugees will flood back into the adjoining settled areas. but also infiltrate into the interior of Pakistan.
Any successes the generals can achieve in their war in Afghanistan would be meaningless. Another possible scenario is an Islamist military coup. Pakistan remains overpopulated and poor. but nationalist fervour easily shades into the Islamist variety).000 barrels of oil per day. Of this. Due to these hostilities. further limiting potential spending on social improvements and programs. Due to all of these sources of debt. This prevents Pakistan from devoting significant resources to economic development and/or social improvements Education Perhaps the greatest loss comes in the area of education. is Pakistan's dependence on foreign oil and other imported fossil fuels. military campaigns divorced from the real needs of national policy usually end up as expensive failures. A takeover of the military and the government by a group of Islamist officers could well occur in such circumstances. educational improvements . Without monetary resources with which to fight the numerous problems of the nation. additional grants and loans are required each year totaling approximately 25% of revenues.3 lean increasingly on Islamists (political Islamists. Monstrous Debt Pakistan's chief problem is a monstrous debt. not the Taliban). the Pakistani government spends roughly one fifth of its budget on its military. half of government expenditures are dedicated to fulfilling debt repayment obligations. As such. Whether or not this is a direct result of Pakistan's economic problems. Primarily this debt has accumulated due to the continuing conflict with India over the Kashmir region. The debt accrued by Pakistan has come from several sources. are easy to imagine. for both Pakistan and the US. Kashmir is a predominantly Muslim state within India. or the military buckles under the combined pressures of trying to support the US war in Afghanistan. it is undoubtedly connected.1 million short tons of coal are imported each year. As a nation. Though possible at any time (it is unclear how deeply they have penetrated the military. 1. In order to finance these payments. Whatever the actual chain of events that transpires. The pages of history are littered with them. With so many resources directed towards the aforementioned debt payment. These resources are used primarily for the generation of power. it becomes much more likely if governance in the country seriously breaks down. 293. Pakistan uses 350. while all the time looking apprehensively over its shoulder at the “threat” posed by an India it does not trust. The frightening consequences of this. This border conflict has been raging on and off for the last half of the twentieth century. Another factor in the large debt.000 barrels per day are imported. and they will gradually take over the government. Also. the possession of this region has been a source of contention between mostly Hindu India and mostly Muslim Pakistan. the great (and avoidable) tragedy is that the policies the US is pursuing in the region greatly increase the likelihood of the loss of Pakistan to the Islamists. combating insurgencies and militant attacks at home. The combination of these two alone make up a huge part of the over one billion dollar trade deficit.
Literacy being defined as those over 15 who can read and write. . a poorly educated populace makes Pakistan a poor choice for the foreign investors that it so desperately needs. however we do know that there is a finite number of people who can live on this planet. This is best illustrated by the fact that only 38 million of Pakistan's 141 million people make up the entire labor force. In terms of population. No one knows exactly what the carrying capacity of the earth is. It is especially important. and food that the earth provides.. It is not desirable to reach this point. Furthermore. Without foreign investors. and its parliament disbanded. Government Formerly a federal republic. Pakistan's now military controlled dictatorship is a large part of the problem. creating less incentives for them to limit the size of their families. to limit those growth rates in countries where they are highest and have the greatest potential to reach these undesirable limits.4%) lends itself to a society where most women never enter the labor force. where our resources limit us to a point where growth is impossible. Without foreign investment.. any potential aid given is not guaranteed to reach its intended recipient. Until democracy is restored in Pakistan it will be very difficult to affect any kind of positive change in other areas that so desperately need it. This is reflected in the fact that 34% of the population lives below the poverty line. With an average of 2.4% for women). low literacy rates are often observed with high population growth. you get the point. the average citizen is forced to live off very limited resources. as the World Bank has refrained from issuing an endorsement of Pakistan. Secondarily. With Pakistan's constitution suspended.000 dollars of GDP per person (adjusted for purchasing power parity).4 are given and inordinately low priority. though. is the large portion of Pakistan's population that lives in poverty. Pakistan is unable to attract foreign investors.8% (50% for men and 24. Poverty Deeply linked to the massive debt and poorly educated people. despite a mere 7% unemployment. This is evident upon examination of Pakistan's overall literacy rate of 37. These scarce resources include fresh water. In addition. fossil fuels. the world can only support so many people with the resources that we have available to us. Without positive economic development. General Musharraf's regime has yet to win the support of the international lending community. the extremely low literacy rate among Pakistani women (24. Pakistan's lack of fiscal resources is yet another barrier against foreign investment. A poorly educated population is unlikely to participate in family planning or any other form of population control. Pakistan lacks the resources to bring about positive economic development. To avoid this situation we need to begin working towards lower population growth rates in every country around the world. Excessive Population Simply put. Musharraf's military dictatorship has understandably not placed great emphasis on education in Pakistan.
and South Africa are looking to build a fourth-generation design called a gas-pebble-bed reactor (PBMR).5 This graph displays both the actual and projected growth rates for Pakistan over the next 50 years. although companies in China. says Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists.Some two dozen power plants are scheduled to be built or refurbished during the next five years in Canada. Most of the new reactor designs are thirdgeneration pressurized-water reactors (PWR). It is easy to see that the growth rate is expected to decline. more powerful. and safer. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs adds that there are also increasing concerns about energy security. and from attempts to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. more powerful. Pakistan. and South Africa. and . however. governmental preparations are under way that may lead to 15 new reactor orders by 2007. France. The new reactors are supposed to be inexpensive to build. Iran. The new interest in civilian nuclear energy results from some heavy lobbying by groups involved in building reactors. since the population will be nearly triple what it is now. In the US and the UK. Russia. even a small growth rate produces a large increase in population. Energy Problems in Pakistan Nuclear reactor builders are jostling for business as energy utilities take another look at nuclear power. and South Africa are looking to build a fourthgeneration design called a gas-pebble-bed reactor (PBMR). The new reactors are supposed to be inexpensive to build. and they can be operated for up to 60 years.power trade groups. Most of the new reactor designs are third-generation pressurized-water reactors (PWR). France. particularly in light of the recent disruption of Russian gas supplies in Europe. India. China. according to nuclear . although companies in China. several European Union countries.
In the context of Pakistan.social. Socio Economic Problems The most beautiful moment in the life of humans is when someone of their own blood calls them ‘mama’ or ‘papa’. they turn into socio-economic problems. based on domestic designs. and the little human infant grows up to be an adult ready to face the challenges of the world he was born in. Certain social and economic conditions become a menace for the society when they start asserting negative influence on the society.power trade groups. In no time. China also sees nuclear technology as a major export opportunity. At present the gravest problem that Pakistan is facing is its precarious law and order condition.6 safer. Social Problems Pakistan has been facing a lot of social problems since its inception in 1947. Quaid-e-Azam tried his best to solve these problems and get the state machinery working but due to his sudden death. Subsequent governments didn’t pay considerable attention towards solution of various social problems and thus they grew with the passage of time and became social evils. Parents want to provide the newborn with the best of everything. protected and taken care of. He is pampered. Government has been helpless in eradicating terrorism despite beefing up security in . which may lead to a larger order. He sees around him with a hope of finding the same perfection in everything which his parents had provided him with. The main issue is the extent and intensity of the socio-economic problems of Pakistan which have soared to alarming levels. The major problems of a society are linked with the providence of basic necessities of life to the people making up the society. legal. according to nuclear . political. Every country in the world has its own set of socio-economic problems. there is no concept of an ideal society in the world. spiritual and the list goes on. including a fast-breeder reactor that generates its own fuel. as stated earlier. by 2020. he could not eradicate these problems completely. The blissful period of childhood soon gets over. say industry analysts. he realizes that the Utopian concept of a perfect world should be confined to the fictional Island created by Thomas More in his widely renowned novel only. and is building its second of four power plants for Pakistan. food and clothing are not fulfilled. Terrorism has become a headache for federation and a nightmare for public. If the basic needs of man. the deprivation of these needs gradually transform into different forms of social menaces. That Utopia was far from reality and had nothing to do with the world around us. The real issue is not the presence of these problems in society because. poor infrastructure and widespread poverty of masses. It’s a world abound with countless problems. there is no wonder that it is engulfed with a number of social and economical problems. owing to the fact that it is a developing nation. I will discuss some major social and economic problems that are of serious concern for social scientists and political economists. Usually those social needs which persist in a society for long period of time without being fulfilled owing to restrained budgetary scenarios. Nuclear-industry officials have long said that the majority of growth would come in Asia. economic. rehabilitation of refugees. and they can be operated for up to 60 years. In the start there were the problems of lack of funds. Japan is building five new power plants by 2010.shelter. India has nine power plants under construction. and China plans to build 30 nuclear reactors.
Pakistan has been ranked at 42nd number among the most corrupt nations of the world.4% but according to some private estimates the arte of unemployment is 12%. despite decreasing. Private sector is doing commendable job for the promotion of educational culture in Pakistan. all are involved in corruption of one kind or the other. Unemployment is also regarded as a major social problem. It deprives children of poor people to access education and healthcare. Most of them don’t have access to adequate basic needs of life. but its main objective is money-making. mosques. offices. So they keep on looting the national treasures and find ways to legalize their black-money. hotels. Major portion of Pakistan’s population consists of youth and a large number of young people who have the ability and are willing to work are unemployed. Lack of proper food. 70% population of Pakistan lives in villages. government has failed to achieve literacy rates comparable to other countries in South Asia. That is why every now and then we read crime stories in newspapers that are characterized by lower orders of society who adopt illegal channels to get the financial prosperity which they can not achieve otherwise. Besides terrorism there are other social problems which are older and more widespread.7 metropolitan cities. Illiteracy The literacy rate lingers on 56% and ironically it also includes those people who can read and write their name in Urdu. Despite spending millions on it. Public seeks answer to the question that what is their fault for which they are being punished by the terrorists? People have become numerical figures. But the impacts of unemployment are more . Currently rate of unemployment as per official resources is 7.you name it and the place is not safe any more. unsafe and sometimes contaminated drinking water are just some of their many problems. There is a lack of accountability due to which wealthy people and those in power are sure that they can’t be held responsible for their deeds. A sense of deprivation manifests itself in form of various crimes. Many corrupt people don’t even bother to do that. The biggest of these problems is poverty. They live in miserable conditions. lack of new industries and defective education system. Terrorists have not spared any place. Over the decades. blown up in numbers every now and then. Schools and colleges are opened as a business prospect and thus many of them lack quality. Corruption in government departments is so much deep-rooted that a common concept prevails that the system doesn’t let honest people to work peacefully. From clerical staff to higher offices and bureaucrats. clothing and shelter. educational institutes. A large chunk of population lives below poverty line. Uneducated adults contribute negligibly to the national exchequer. Bazars. There are many reasons of unemployment like influx of machinery that has replaced manpower. According to latest report of Transparency International. poor sanitation. Poverty itself gives rise to various other social problems. They are struggling for bread and butter. illiteracy rate in Pakistan has shown an upward trend. The fact that 50 percent of children do not complete their primary education testifies this fact. Not only that but enrollment ratio of students at primary level has shown a decreasing trend. Corruption is another huge social problem.
glass and football making. backward and out-dated technology were not enough. Situation was so precarious that government had to freeze the market during last . Pakistan’s economic conditions are pathetic. some countries refused to import those goods from Pakistan in whose making children were employed. Also. But despite all these factors. People who don’t find work here migrate to other countries with better prospects. When citizens of a country are freed from the worries of earning a livelihood to sustain their lives. Child labour is widespread in Pakistan. mechanics. There is a great economic disparity among the people. cement and shoe industry is on its downfall while textile industry is breathing its last. Stock exchanges showed very poor performance throughout 2008. Stock Exchanges also depict a true picture of economic meltdown. Multinational Companies are reluctant to open their offices and franchises in Pakistan. Result is that all our important industries that once served as an important contributor to the national GDP have been closed down. Instable political system. Poor are committing suicides out of hunger while rich are busy amassing more and more wealth. Apart from these there are several economic problems which have broken the backbone of national treasury. Population expansion has been a real issue of concern for all governments. dictatorship in its worse form and non-effective democracy badly affect the rates of stocks listed on the three stock exchanges of Pakistan. Local as well as foreign investors are hesitant of investing large sums of money in stock exchange in fear of incurring unexpected loss. power crises. They have their own set of problems which include painful and lengthy procedure of getting licenses and work permits in Pakistan. Unfortunately. electricians and in industries like carpet-weaving. Foreign investors are not ready to setup their businesses in Pakistan. they divert their attention to more useful things. With limited resources it is very difficult to cater to the needs of growing population. As if power crises. In past. Media and NGOs have always condemned child labour.they are economically sound. More than 70 MNCs have already packed up their business from Pakistan. many times Karachi Stock Exchange has plunged to its lowest point in the history of Pakistan. Poor economic condition is the root cause of so many problems that exist in a society. due to growing inflation and poverty. develop technologies that make life easy and much more. Pakistan’s indulgence in war on terrorism served as a fatal blow to the already crumbling economic state. These social problems directly affect the masses. During this year. we find innocent malnourished children employed in various forms of labour. improvise healthcare. Whether in bigger cities or in small villages. parents are bound to send their children to work to light their stoves. They are working as welders. Sugar. Meager wages are paid to these children and no facilities for education are provided. lack of foreign investment for the development of industrial zones. plumbers. One thing is common in all developed nations. Economic Problems Economic prosperity serves as a backbone for the overall progress of a nation.8 serious and dangerous. They focus on education. terrorism and declining exports. people tired of making both ends meet due to unemployment indulge in nefarious activities and ratio of crimes increases.
85% in first quarter of year 2009 until SBP took steps to curb inflation through tight monetary policy. which are of great ecological concern in terms of its sustainable economic future. shimmering lakes and flowing waterfalls brought many a tourist form all over the world to Pakistan. urban pollution. Around 150 million people live in this country.9 quarter of 2008. Prices of all consumer products in general and food products in particular are rocket high. possessions and property back home. water logging & salinity. it would take a severe toll on the environment. Consumer Price Index (CPI) as well as Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is at all-time high. purchasing power of masses is at an all-time low. Its poor law and order situation has alarmed the tourist and thus Northern areas no more receive many tourists. Unemployment is already prevalent and now the question of providing employment to these migrants has also become a serious concern. This large influx of people and their rehabilitation is an economic burden for Pakistan. These include: Soil erosion. war on terrorism has served as a serious blow to the tourism industry of Pakistan. Earlier when stock market used to plunge. Nevertheless. Besides attracting foreign exchange. International increase in oil prices and Pakistan’s internal unfavourable business conditions are two important factors responsible for high rates of inflation. freshwater pollution and marine water pollution_ just to name a few. This portion of population is contributing nothing worthwhile to the national income yet they have to be benefited from it. recovery state of stocks is alarming. Tourism Industry was one of the booming industries of Pakistan. The rate of population growth is one of the fastest and according to estimates it would double in just 25 years (UNDP 1997). deforestation. pesticide misuse. if the population continues to grow at this rate. desertification. Country has seen the largest migration since independence in 1947. Also included in the constraints is the unsustainable use and management of these resources. The beautiful hills. Due to war on terror. businesses. The main reason is poor management . Now share prices take a nose-dive and take considerable time to generate profits. it also provided employment to local people. Northern areas of Pakistan have been a place of great tourist attraction. These people have left their homes. Also. In contrast. local people of war-ridden areas are migrating to other areas of Pakistan. What is obvious from this is. Local as well as foreign media has projected Pakistan as a dangerous and unsafe country. Also. tourist industry was a source of friendly relations with other countries. The major constraint to overcoming these problems. Rate of inflation was never a two-digit figure in Pakistan. but in recent years it has seen an unprecedented increase. This contributed to foreign exchange. This unproductive lot of people is a growing economic problem of Pakistan. Core inflation soared to 18. which is very high in contrast to the natural resources that are available to the people. infact perhaps the main contributor to their intensity is the explosive rate of population growth. making it the seventh most populous country in the world. Environmental Issues A number of serious environmental problems are present in Pakistan. the lush green valleys. Cost of production increased due to various factors. it would recover in few days or weeks.
totally opposite to this. Chenab and Jhelum. Water. Water The main water sources in Pakistan are rivers. The high temperatures mean that there is high evaporation. It means that judicious means of energy use and minimum waste systems of production as well as lifestyles must be employed for sustainable development. its tributaries. The picture in Pakistan is however very different_ in fact. The rainfall is dependent on the two monsoon seasons.3% of the total arable land and surface water is mainly relied upon for irrigation. Kharan closed basin (15% of the total land area) and the Makran coastal basin (15% of the total land area) are the three basins. Almost 75% of the country receives less than 250 mm annually. In any case. which ranks it 69th out of 110 countries. the most important being the Southwestern monsoon between June to September.The News. This shortage is hindering the country's potential to develop agriculture. It mainly draws its water from snow melting and precipitation. already a scarce commodity in most parts of the country. and 43 canals (Dr. thus increasing soil . 90% of the groundwater is already being used through tube-wells.10 and sustainability of natural resources owing to it being a developing country. The surface waters of the rivers have not been used effectively. Kaleem Ullah. is now facing further shortages. When it is used in fields it leaves behind a high level of salts after evaporation. Saim Muhammad ). only 30% actually reaches the roots of the crop. 19 barrages and headworks. The combination of a large population and poor availability and provision of resources is worrisome. as they are seasonal and irregular. which leads to loss of water everywhere. The majority is either lost in canals or when it is being applied to the fields. Noor Ahmad Memon. M. This waste of energy is combined with the need to import fossil fuels and as a consequence there is a very low productive per capita use of energy. The irrigation water available per irrigated acre has risen to 35% from the 1960s. There are serious effluent problems and lack of sanitation affecting the natural resources and posing unmitigated health risks. Pakistan occupies the basin of three major rivers. Out of the water tapped from the Indus basin. This is also due in part to inadequate distribution and the coercion of the water-tanker mafia. with the Indus basin representing the largest potential. The rainfall pattern is extreme due to the varied topography of the country. Irrigated land is 82. comprising the Indus. The country boasts the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. Khan. Only 3% of the industrial plants meet international waste treatment standards. The use of raw materials is also inefficient and many reusable resources are discarded as waste. Pakistan's GDP per unit energy used is 4.0. Energy use is excessively inefficient. which is of considerable importance to the country. rainfall and groundwater. Average rainfall is between 50 to 1000 mm but in the isolated northern mountains it may exceed 2000 mm. On the other hand the dry areas receive less than 125 mm on an average. Around 90% of the food and fibre production depend on irrigation. groundwater has a higher salt content. glaciers.Rawalpindi Islamabad26/01/98). The combined annual average flow of these and River Kabul is 178 billion cusecs ( Asim R. Indus (70% of total land area). The Indus Water Treaty (1960) between India and Pakistan has restricted Pakistan's access to the water in the Indus basin to merely the three rivers_ Indus.
60% with the majority occurring in fields. engineering works and thermal power plants. These fruit and vegetables show a presence of metals and other toxins. paper and pulp. chemical. in fact the whole ecosystem is affected by problems associated with water. The first environmental assessment study in the country was conducted at the SITE industrial area to record the effect of industrial wastewater on Karachi's vegetation The chemical analysis revealed that there were traces of heavy metals such as chromium and nickel in the vegetable samples. Karachi produces discharge of wastewater of 300 million gallons per day and Lahore 240 million gallons per day. by polluting the water bodies. Groundwater may also be contaminated by untreated sewage. rangelands. Human health. As a result 50% of the crops are contaminated.11 salinity. Lahore and Peshawar discharge their wastewater into these rivers increasing their BOD level to 193-100mg/l for Ravi. pharmaceuticals. This renders them useless for human consumption and irrigation. Considering Pakistan's environmental scenario. The Lyari River has become a putrid and toxic gutter due to discharge of effluents. operational water losses are 50 . agriculture. A study conducted by IUCN suggests that spinach from Korangi farms contains as much as 87. Water borne diseases are the largest killers in the country and health problems resulting from polluted water cost a large amount of money. They have sustained life for thousands of years and the historical city of Lahore is built around the Ravi. Consequently. The level allowed by . sewage water is re-channelled to irrigate crops. Pollution of water bodies by effluents from industries and the sewerage system have compounded the problem. it is responsible for the many water borne diseases that plague the country and account for 60% of infant deaths. and aquatic life. open nullahs or in the Lyari and Malir rivers. Of particular interest are the rivers Ravi and Kabul. forests. which contaminates them with pathogens.48 mg/l of chromium. Freshwater Pollution . These include leather tanning units. In Pakistan. Untreated industrial waste is not only affecting the environment but ultimately is also having its toll on the country's health. it becomes increasingly obvious that water issues are the most pressing.Chemical waste: Almost all chemical waste is dumped untreated into the river system from where it is taken out to sea. water bodies. canals and water channels. refineries. Solid waste also finds its way into the water system. this showed that the industries were not using any pollution control measures whatsoever. Invariably. Today. The industrial waste is also used to irrigate some vegetable and fruit farms that have cropped up in the Korangi Industrial Area. petrochemicals. a lot more than that harvested in other areas. There are three sewerage plants in Karachi but they are able to treat only 45 million gallons per day (15% of the total wastewater). A large number of industries discharge deadly and toxic waste into storm-drains. textile. Sewage: The discharge of sewage and contaminated water in rivers and water bodies not only affects marine production. but its use for agriculture results in the contamination of the food chain. According to certain researches.
' A World Health Organisation (WHO) study revealed that two million people suffered from pesticide poisoning and 40. In Pakistan. Extensive use of agricultural chemicals has already started affecting aquifers. air and water being contaminated and predators of the pests being eliminated. pesticides have developed into a major agricultural product (80% are used on cotton alone). To overcome this problem. It took around forty years to strike. The situation is worse here because many of these chemicals are either sold under generic names or are fake and adulterated. It soon became apparent that new pests with greater resistance were emerging in addition to soil. Most of these were from developing countries. Agricultural run-off / pesticides: Indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilisers ensure that agricultural run-off from fields also contributes to water pollution. Insecticides and pesticides thus became popular both as fight against diseases as well as saving crops from pests. an act that resulted in a Nobel Prize for him. irrigated agriculture also means a thriving pest population. Marine Pollution The seas have been used as dumps for ages.000 die per year. which have been urged to buy pesticides from corporations from the developed world. Chemist Paul Miller introduced it for the first time in 1938. No life exists in it for 7 miles downstream. When DDT (Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane) was first made in the 1880s it was considered a 'magical' insecticide. low fertility. pesticide consumption in Pakistan rose from 3677 metric tonnes in 1981 to 14745 metric tonnes in 1991. that these substances also had side effects.169 percent between 1981 and 1999.This on the one hand provides favourable conditions for irrigated agriculture. The pesticides are carcinogenic and mutagenic causing sterility. The climate of the country ranges from heat. skin cancer. pesticide residues have been found in water. In rupee terms this equalled 4581 million rupees. By 1996 this had gone up to 43219 metric tonnes. The environment and biodiversity of the planet was being destroyed which ultimately might have more adverse consequences. Introduced in 1954 at the onset of the green revolution.12 the environmental experts is 80 mg/l! There is an annual loss of 5000 tonnes of fish catch from this river. However. Estimates suggest that around one-third of the yield is destroyed by pests or disease. i. The pesticides upset the natural food chains causing greater problems unforeseen by technologists promoting the 'miracle medicines. 9987 million. soil and even food commodities. . This means that it does not mix and in fact settles down at the bottom of the ocean as sludge. humidity and rainfall. which may be 1. mainly due to the misconception that whatever is put into them gets diluted. the truth of the matter is that most of the contaminated water entering the sea has a density different to that of the natural seawater. However.e Rs. to arid spells.5 foot deep in certain areas. At that time it helped to save millions of people from typhus and malaria. An exhaustive study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations found that pesticide use in Pakistan increased 1. immune and hormonal system disorder.
The garbage originates from the municipal waste and port activities. Neville Burt 1997) of raw sewage enters Karachi harbour mainly through Lyari River and Chinna Creek. taking with it all the toxic effluents. making it unsightly and . There have been major changes in the coastal environment in the last 200 years. Some of them are due to natural causes such as the gradual change in the course of the River Indus. It stretches from Sandspit in the west to Chinna Creek in the east. Solid Waste: Plastic bags are found all over the harbour and are not only an eyesore but also damaging to marine life. A variety of effluents from domestic sources and waste from visiting ships (estimated 2. Domestic sources of marine pollution: • • • • • • Metal scrap Rust from shipping yard Oil and liquid waste from fish processing plants Industrial effluents Solid waste Spillage of grains Visiting ships: • • • Waste oil Deck washing Garbage Oil: It is estimated that 90. Liquid waste and hot water from the plant is subsequently discharged into the sea. The rate of pollution far outstrips the recycling processes in nature. There is no freshwater input except from direct rainfall and the local run-off from rainfall. which encloses an area of 62 km square. A wide-diversity of garbage including wood and plastic are also apparent.000 gallons of seawater for cooling. which moved to the southeast of Karachi.500 annually) all contribute to the depressing state of the harbour especially around the Manora Channel. Sewage: An estimated 200 million gallons (Environmental Assessment and Protection of Karachi Harbour. The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) uses 150. The coastal pollution is mainly confined to the Karachi Harbour. Water circulation and wind driven currents concentrate this in certain parts of the harbour.000 tonnes of oil products from vessels and port terminals are dumped into the harbour every year. In addition. The main causes of marine pollution are diverting the water of the river for irrigation and extensive pollution. there is also the threat of oil pollution from other countries especially the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.13 Much of the water from the rivers finds its way down to the sea.
There is also a significant amount of solid waste. But nothing serious has been done to seal the unlawful entrance of arms from across the border. But these problems are so deep-rooted that they have not been successful in putting an end to these problems. but the wealth looted by them should be recovered and employed for the welfare of people. The result is that all of these pollutants are consumed by microorganisms (planktons) and they enter the food chain. An IUCN study of fishmeal (made of locally caught fish) used as feed for poultry discovered that it had 33 parts per mililitre of chromium.14 dangerous to ships as it can get stuck in propellers. New dams should be built and new methods of producing electricity should be utilized. Cottage industry and selfbusiness should be promoted. Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. energy crises should be controlled. They are mainly released by the industrial estates. The institutions of NAB and FIA should be made more powerful to curb corruption. For example. Ministers and other government officials enjoy the facilities of squads of armed body guards while public places like markets. for economic development. Not only they should be strictly dealt with. Hardly 2% of these industries have the facilities to treat their effluents before releasing them into the sea. Overall standard of living needs to be improved and inflation should be controlled. arsenic and zinc. . poverty reduction should be top priority of government. at the end of the food chain. It should be strengthened by providing loans to farmers. Free of cost educations should be provided to children in villages. there is a sheer need to curb corruption at all levels. much emphasis is laid on beefing up security in big cities in wake of terrorism. Judiciary should be an independent institution. government needs to stop fighting the proxy war on behalf of USA. The problem lies in the fact that government focuses on one factor and ignores the others related to it. Thirdly. which sinks to the bed of the harbour Toxic metals: According to a PCSIR (1999) study. lobsters. Many of these metals are carcinogens and can cause genetic deformities and other fatal diseases. Lastly. chromium. human beings. including. bus stands etc are not adequately protected. Judiciary is powerful but we have yet to wait and see the results of independence of judiciary in Pakistan. Acids and explosive materials used for destruction by atomic bombs are easily available in market at cheap prices. cadmium. shopping centers. Secondly. Rather strict punishments should be imposed on them. The metals include mercury. lead. High levels of chromium were found in chicken and eggs as well. Culprits should not be allowed to escape out of country. transferring these poisons to other organisms that rely on them for sustenance. Currently Pakistan has experienced a new era in the history of its judicial set-up. crabs and shrimps. huge amounts of toxic metals have been found in marine life such as fish. roads. To control terrorism. Remedies Successive governments have taken steps to solve various socio-economic problems.
Though Pakistan is currently facing a lot of socio-political and socio-economic problems but it doesn’t mean that it is going towards its end. no country is free from socio-economic problems. .15 Conclusion: As stated in the start of essay. The same is the need of hour. Nations face multifarious problems but together they work for towards the solution. These problems are present in every country but the winners are those who overcome most if not all of them. Government as well as every single citizen of Pakistan has to play its own specific role to bring about a positive change.
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