KARACHI: Pakistan’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are bound to increase considerably as the country climbs up the development ladder and strives to provide adequate amount of energy to support its growing socio-economic developmental requirements, according to Pakistan Economic Survey 2016.
As a responsible member of international community, Pakistan would like to contribute to the global GHG mitigation efforts without compromising on its basic minimum energy and food needs consistent with its socio-economic developmental requirements, energy security considerations, as well as financial and technological constraints. Air growth in the industrial zones brings prosperity, but on the other hand raises the smoke particulate matter and the effluents which have a damaging effect on the environment. China which has gone on rapid industrialisation and developed industrial parks is suffering from the industrial pollution. The pollution level in cities like Shanghai and Beijing has been a shock to the heavily industrialised China. Similar is the case with Pakistan where rapid rise of urbanisation and industrialisation has created serious concerns of environmental degradation.
According to the survey, major cities of Pakistan like Karachi and Lahore have already been termed as among the most polluted cities in Asia. The continuous fog and smog conditions in Lahore and other areas of Punjab in the winter months, with delayed rainfall, is a worrisome factor. To overcome these issues, the present government has introduced the rapid, safe and modern mass transit system in major cities to make the mobility easier which will be also helpful in reducing the pollution. “The busses under metro projects are newer and have the diminishing effects on the air pollution while providing better transportation services to the masses. This facility has been provided only in three cities (Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad) and therefore, has marginal impact on the environment and expansion of this service may have far reaching positive effects on air pollution Pakistan needs to carry out extensive research in the field of air quality,” it added.
Constant and dynamic monitoring of pollutants levels such as PM, PM10, SO2, CO, CO2, O3, NO2, hydrocarbons (methane and non-methane), lead and noise should be carried out in all the major cities and towns of the country. An efficient network of data sites has to be developed which can churn out correct and useable data on regular basis. Many departments and institutes are working in this sector but most of their efforts are focused on a single pollutant of a specific area.
Air quality management system may be established to address the situation with following goals. Identify relevant legislative and regulatory requirements; identify all sources of air pollution caused by human activities; set appropriate objectives and targets for human and environmental health; set priorities for achieving objectives and targets; establish a structure and programmes to implement policies and achieve objectives and targets; facilitate the monitoring of air quality and effects on human health and environment; facilitate urban planning, corrective action and the prevention of adverse effects; ensure compliance with emission and air quality standards.
The 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held at 30th November 2015 in Paris where world leaders including Pakistan hammered out an agreement aimed at stabilising the climate and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. The main focus was to mitigate pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregation emissions pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degree Celsuis above industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Carbon capture and storage carbon capture and storage is a new technology which focuses on securing and storing carbon dioxide emissions before they are released into the atmosphere. Although this technology is still in its early stages, successful pilot projects offer hope of developing and implementing it for large-scale projects.