low visibility on roads and motorways in Pakistan

Now a days if one goes on Motorway from Islamabad to Peshawar or to Lahore he experiences low visibility and high mist or fog. The problem persist in Pakistan but now it is very common and irritates the public. One of the cause for this is going back to fossil fuel i.e.,diesel and petrol from natural gas.The problem of natural gas and load shedding is mainly due to bad management and is also attributed to corruption.
Going through all the available material on the natural gas problem and carrying the research on the issue of gas availability it was observed that the problem is very complicated. Actual data is not shown any where and not available.Pakistan is a resourceful country and has many huge deposits of gas and petroleum.
In Capital city of Pakistan Islamabad there is no CNG available for running vehicles and gas station are closed.The vehicles are run by petroleum and diesel which is causing and emitting green house gases and APHS,sulfur and other metals which form aerosol in the air and when temperature comes down in the evening dense fog is forme and the visibility is reduced to the range between 10 to 30 meters and in some areas it is zero.
This is also effecting the climate of the region.
The problem is multidimensional and needs due attraction.

Key words, visibility, CNG , Fog

The Land of Vanishing Pastures


The northern Indian regions of Kashmir and Ladakh are home to a variety of livestock that provides meat as well as fine wool used to produce the famous Pashmina shawls. But overgrazing, strong winds and car traffic are now destroying pastures and posing a hazard to the survival of traditional herding.

More at:   http://www.scidev.net/global/livestock/multimedia/the-land-of-vanishing-pastures.html

Temperature tale of Quetta


QUETTA – Quetta, capital of Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, was famous for its chilly weather, natural beauty and lofty mountains covered with blankets of snow.
Situated at an altitude of 5,500 feet (1,675m) above sea level and stretching over an area of 2653- km, Quetta has become a city of more than 2 million. But, very unfortunately, during last five decades Quetta has not only lost its peace but also the cold in summer and chilling winters.
Analysts, besides citing a number of reasons behind variation in climate of Quetta, hold extra-ordinary population growth, heavy traffic bulge, emission of greenhouse gases and rapid chopping off of trees responsible for “climate change”.
“One can observe a drastic change not only in the climate of Quetta but also in other parts of Balochistan,” says an 80-year old Muhammad Gulzar resident of Quetta, who has witnessed the changing climate living through most part of the climatic changes himself.
He says couple of years back it used to get very cold in Quetta valley but now it appears as if there is little winter despite the fact that December is about to end. “We have witnessed heavy snowfall in Quetta in winters and the mountains around Quetta valley used to be covered with snow,” he recalls, adding that owing to heavy snowfall in winters, one could see snow on the peaks of Chiltan and Mordar mountains even in summers.
Quetta city was initially designed for 50,000 people by British rulers but after 1950, its population increased manifold and in later decades of the century following Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, Quetta saw a large influx of refugees. A rough estimate says currently Quetta city is being inhabited by 2.8 million people. There are more than 0.2 million vehicles and rickshaw plying on the narrow roads of the city, emitting carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels.
Temperature records from 1931 to 2012 compiled by Metrological Department shows a huge difference in temperature in various months and years.
On Dec 14, 1970 highest maximum temperature had been recorded 25 C while on Dec 21, 1950 the temperature had dropped to minimum minus -18.3 C. Similarly, on Feb 26, 1953 the highest maximum temperature had been recorded 23.7 C while in Feb, 1, 1970 it had dropped to minimum minus -16.7 C. In 1998 Quetta witnessed highest maximum 42.0 C and minimum minus 0.3 C in May, 1989 and -6 in Sept 1962.
Director Regional Metrological Center Quetta, Saifullah Shami says although climatic change was contributing in temperature rise in Quetta but ever growing population, cutting of trees, emission of greenhouse gases and uncontrolled and unmanaged pollution are the immediate factors. “These have affected entire eco-system in Quetta which requires urgent attention of authorities concerned so as to stop this environmental degradation,” he added.
Pakistan has the least contribution to global warming and ranked at 135th position in carbon dioxide emissions yet, it is faced with severe climate changes and has been ranked 3rd in the list of most vulnerable countries to climate change.
A recent report from World Bank warned Pakistan of the existence of five major risks related to climate change: rise in sea level, glacial retreats, floods, higher average temperature and higher frequency of droughts. Besides other impacts of increasing temperature, it has created dearth of water, dried crops and orchards located in the outskirts of the Quetta city and has also inflicted health issues.
“Quetta-city used to be free of mosquito in 1935 but with the passage of time, increase in population, lack of attention on the part of govt, the city has become a host of issues,” says Dr Irfan Baig, an environmental expert.
He says Balochistan and some other parts of the country were badly hit by a long drought from 1997 to 2003. “The drought raised temperature and the impacts of climate change were noticed not only in Balochistan but also in Afghanistan, Seistan-Balochistan of Iran and Rajasthan of India in 2003,” he added.
Baig says variation in weather has been observed not only in Quetta but also in other parts of Balochistan, including Nushki and Chagai districts where temperature has increased.
“After 2003 climate change rapidly showed its impacts that is evident from the fact that even orange and palm trees can now match with the climate of Quetta,” he said, adding that it had been observed that now winter is falling late December as compared to past.
Baig regretted over government’s lukewarm response towards this serious issue and devising no plan and formulating no policy to mitigate the impacts of climatic change that would cause serious repercussion in coming days.


World’s second largest biosphere reserve at risk

Bari Baloch

QUETTA-The mineral rich province of Balochistan not only covers 44 percent of entire Pakistan’s land mass but has also a 780-km long coastal area, a 7000 year old civilization of Mehrgarh to its credit and is bestowed with unique juniper forests stretching on thousands of acres in Ziarat, Zarghoon and Harbohi areas of the province.
The invaluable juniper forests of Ziarat are as old as 5000 years and are counted the world’s second largest and oldest forests only after the juniper forests of California. Sadly, increasing temperature, lukewarm response on the part of government in preserving ancient forests and incessant cutting of trees for fuel and other purposes have brought juniper forests of Zairat at the verge of alarming extinction. The juniper trees are facing a double count threat on the one hand from parasite infection and on the other hand by ruthless chopping off by timber mafia for the sake of a trivial amount.
Junipers are one of the slowest growing trees in the world and are therefore regarded as “living fossils”. The junipers of Ziarat are the largest block in entire region but this all is changing very fast. Approximately 247,000 acres of juniper forest trees are found at an elevation ranging from 1,980 to 3,350 meters above sea-level. Along with other specialties, these trees divert rainwater into the ground and replenishing the underground water resources which irrigate the soil and also produce medical herbs such as Ephedra and Artemisia.
Although Ziarat valley is still striving hard to sustain its cool climate, serene environment, rich fruit orchards and forest yet a huge change is evident in its weather, its temperature, wideness and thickness of forest and ever-dropping water- level during the last three decades. “Ziarat used to be famous for its cool atmosphere and scenic views not only in Balochistan but also across the entire country which now sadly presents a drastically changed picture,” says Muhammad Jaffar, a resident of district Ziarat. Quoting his forefathers, he says Ziarat and its surrounding areas used to receive heavy showers and snowfall with the advent of winter while the heavy snow on the peaks of mountains used to melt very slowly that could be seen even in the hottest months of June and July.
“Nowadays, soon after snowfall, the ice on the peaks of mountains starts melting and till March one would observe the mountains peaks without the traditional snow sheet,” Mr. Jaffar said, adding that increasing temperature and deforestation were showing their negative aftermaths on the climate of the area. A deadly parasite infection named as Mistletoe is like a cancer which has ruined the juniper forests to a larger extent as when it infects any part of the tree, there will be no other option other than cutting down the whole tree or its affected branch. No adequate concentration is paid by the authorities concerned to control this parasite that has turned to be a juniper killer. Owing to infestation, the juniper trees get dry and their smaller branches break down.
Reportedly, this Mistletoe infestation was detected in 1970s by scientist working to investigate the reasons of Juniper death and later it was ascertained that 50 percent of juniper trees are infected in Ziarat. An official of forest department says that the parasite travel through wind from one affected trees to other healthy tree that ultimately leads to the cutting down of the trees. “Besides other reasons, the impact of climate change is also contributing a lot in deforestation not only in Balochistan but also in other parts of the country. Therefore, hardly a new juniper tree is seen in Ziarat,” forest officer said.
Experts say if emergent steps were not taken on war-footings, the deadly parasite, illegal cutting of the trees and impact of climate change could not only deprive Balochistan from this natural treasure but also entire world.
Officials of Forest Wildlife Department say the forest and wildlife department will spend $ 2.3 million during a seven-year period that began in 2012 to protect the Ziarat juniper biosphere reserve, and a team of 80 workers in the forest to monitor and keep it away from being deforested though budget is not enough.
Experts say protecting juniper trees can boost the economy through tourism and they will not use the slow-growing juniper wood for fuel and the area must properly be facilitated with gas.
More and more wild plants are needed to be planted and they must be given protection until they developed into fully grown trees. UNESCO has declared Ziarat juniper forest a “biosphere reserve” Pakistan’s second, and United Nations has added the forest to the world network of Biosphere reserve.
Balochistan government recently approved three projects to protect environment, forests and slow down the impact of climate change under which in coastal areas mangrove forests would be planted, desert trees would be grown in the desert areas of district Nushki, Kharan, Washuk and Chagai which could provide shelter to the local populace from sand storm and technical and professional capacity of officials and other people would be built to play their role in protecting extinct species, trees and wildlife. The government has also directed department concerned to take immediate and effective steps for protection of the forests in Balochistan wildlife and reducing the impact of climate change.


UNDP FOCUS ON Balochistan

BARI BALOCH July 31, 2013

QUETTA – “UNDP is committed to protect valued forests and species of Balochistan as Juniper forests and wildlife in the province are very precious to the whole world and they must be protected”, this was stated by Country Director of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Pakistan Marc-Andre Franche addressing a gathering at Serena Hotel Quetta on Tuesday.
Marc was briefed on the achievements in the recently completed projects named Biodiversity Conservation and Juniper Forest Ecosystem and Conservation of Habitat & Species of Global Significance in Arid & Semi-arid Ecosystem of Balochistan.
Marc-Andre appreciated the project’s encouraging outcomes and assured their support in future for same initiatives. He said that Balochistan is a rich province in biodiversity saying that natural resources, local wisdom and knowledge were also very crucial for its sustainable management.
The five year projects had been completed jointly by UNDP, IUCN, GEF and Government of Balochistan in Ziarat and Nushki districts of Balochistan.
Officials of UNDP Faiz Muhammad Kakar and Tahir Rasheed briefed the audience about the projects and their success in carrying them. Tahir Rasheed told the gathering that his team along with the cooperation of the Forest Department of Balochistan had proposed some changes in the legal framework of the department and suggested addition of an act that would help in protecting the endangered species in the province.
The Act would soon be presented in the provincial assembly for formal legislation. He said that the Act would eliminate illegal trade and hunting of wild animals which were amongst the biggest threats to wild life in Balochistan.
They said that through the two projects sustainable initiatives had been launched which included promoting awareness amongst people, training public staff and building infrastructure for encouraging the people to avoid consuming the precious assets. The gathering was also informed that the efforts of UNDP and its partners the Juniper Forests of Ziarat had been included in the World Network of Biospheres by UNESCO.
At the occasion the Secretary Forests Government of Balochistan Khudai Rahim Ejbani thanked UNDP and donors of the project for their efforts in protecting the valuable assets of Balochistan. “The technical and financial assistance provided in the projects have been very useful for the province” he said adding that such support would be required in future ensure protection to the forests and wild life in Balochistan.
Also present at the seminar were Secretary Planning and Development Zeeshan ul Haq, Chief Conservators of Forest Department, Syed Ghulam Muhammad and Taj Muhammad, Local leaders Nawabzada Mehboob Jogezai and Sardar Naseer Tareen and members of beneficiary communities.

Climatic change and food insecurity

BARI BALOCH July 08, 2013

QUETTA – Ali Bakhsh is an aged farmer, based in Nushki district, which is about 148 kilometers southeast of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, the largest but least developed province of Pakistan.
Ali Bakhsh cultivates mostly wheat, cumin, watermelon and melon in his rain-irrigated lands that bring enough income to him to live a normal life with his family, but now he does not seem happy with farming since he is not able to cultivate wheat nor cumin because of extra-ordinary delay in rain and long draught.
Since last more than one decade, Ali Bakhsh says they are observing drastic change in weather conditions that is inflicting their centuries-old farming which is the mainstay of their economy.
“Our arid lands are stretched over thousands of acres and the source of irrigation is rainwater and tube-wells but because of unusual variation in weather and draughts we are unable to grow wheat, cumin, watermelon and other crops,” he says, adding that these crops used to give a boost to their economy but now they could not even grow wheat to fulfill their needs.
Ali Bakhsh recalls that he had witnessed long droughts consisting ten to 15 years but after long draughts the weather would return in its normal form and the rain would fall timely helping them to cultivate wheat, cumin and other crops.
“In past we have experienced enough rains with the beginning of November which is the best timing for cultivation of wheat and cumin in Nushki and its surrounding districts but during past 8 to 10 years we are going through uneven delay in rains,” he explains.
Like Ali Bakhsh there are hundreds of other farmers whom livelihood is linked with rainwater in most of districts of Balochistan which covers 44 per cent of Pakistan in terms of area and over 80 per cent of its population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture and livestock.
The arid lands of Balochistan which are dependent on rainwater produce thousands of tonnes wheat, cumin, watermelon and melon for the scattered population of Balochistan and farmers not only fulfill their own demands from these yields but also export them to other main cities of the country.
But when draught hits the areas, the farmers not only fall in starvation but are also compel to move to urban areas for search of food that makes their life more miserable.
Muhammad Azeem, another Nushki-based former says if there is timely rain on their apparently barren lands they could produce thousands of tons of wheat that would not only be sufficient for over 0.2 million population of Nushki district but it would also fulfill demands of rest of Balochistan population.
There is a serious shortage of power (energy crises) in the country and because of non-availability of electricity the agriculture sector is facing serious complexity particularly in Balochistan where agriculture in 29 out of 33 districts depends on electricity.
“Since 2001 various districts of Balochistan, including that of district Nushki are virtually passing through a long draught, thus no data of wheat and cumin yield of rain- irrigated lands has been taken,” Sanaullah Badini, an official of agriculture department in district Nushki told The Nation, adding that there are 21 per cent cultivated lands in Nushki which depend on rains while 60 per cent are irrigated through tube-wells.
“Nushki and many other districts have been passing through draught like situation for the last several years. The cycle of rain has also changed manifold as it rains heavily in the month of February instead of November and December which is considered the right time for cultivation of wheat and cumin,” he said, adding that due to variation in the cycle of rain the rain-dependent farmers could not cultivate crops and suffer a lot.
He says rainfall and temperature has a significant effect on wheat crop productivity.
Deputy Director Environmental Protection Agency and renowned environmentalist, Mehboub Baloch says delay in rainfall is all because of climatic change since a number of gasses, including Corbin dioxide and hydrocarbon were contributing in climatic change. “Climate change is a global issue and we have been observing a change in climate in Pakistan particularly in Balochistan and the heavy thunderstorm in Gwadar in 2011 and heavy floods in Naseerabad and Jaffarabad were its main example,” he added.
He says owing to climatic change the agriculture sector is also being affected because of which food insecurity is existing, however, if available water reservoirs are used properly and modern technology of irrigation is adopted the formers would be able to irrigate their lands and could produce maximum food. “Besides cleaning water channels (Karezats) delay-action dames should be constructed and the wastage of rain water should be protected from being wasted,” he added.

Climatic change in South Asia

Climatic change is the main cause for melting of glaciers.And one of the the main pollutant responsible for rise in temperature is the smoke and gases produced by burning of fossil fuels.The research carried out at Peshawar indicated that that the number of vehicles in Peshawar increased from 1999 to 2012 more than seven folds.The research was carried out to know the impact of used engine oil in the study area.The aerosol is formed in the air by the escaping gases from the collar of the vehicles.Which is also main cause for the fog formation on the motorway from Peshawar to Islamabad.
The number of vehicles in Hindukush and Himalayan region has increased tremendously and all these vehicles run by Fossil fuel which on burning generate green house gases such as CO,CO2 and in CNG run vehicle methane gas also escape to air.These gases are causing the rise of temperature and so melting of glaciers has also increased.
Another finding of the study is the burning of used engine oil in brick kilns.In the brick kiln used engine oil is used as a chief source of energy and in the brick kiln it is used with other burning material e.g.,wood etc to enhance burning.The used engine oil burn incompletely releasing metals and green gases to the environment.
The policy makers of the region must consider this factor to mitigate the effect of vehicle contribution.

Key words Alternative energy, fossil fuels, green house gases, Used engine oil, climatic change,temperature rise ,global warming,CC.

जौ व जई से पर्यावरण बचाने की मुहिम

  • संतोष सारंग

ग्लोबल वार्मिंग के बढ़ते ख़तरों को देखते हुए और लोगों में पर्यावरण के प्रति जागरूकता पैदा करने के मकसद से हर साल पांच जून को पर्यावरण दिवस मनाया जाता है। सवाल यह उठता है कि क्या जलवायु परिवर्तन और ग्लोबल वार्मिंग जैसे मुद्दों से निपटने के लिए क्या वैश्विक स्तर पर गंभीर प्रयास हो रहे हैं। पर्यावरण के बिगाड़ का मामला किसी देश या विदेश से नहीं जुड़ा है बल्कि इसको बिगाड़ने में आज छोटे बड़े सभी देश शामिल हैं। ग्रीन हाउस गैसों का उत्सर्जन और तापमान में वृद्धि का सबसे बुरा असर परिस्थितीय तंत्र और जीवन चक्र पर पड़ा है। ग्रीन हाउस गैसों के उत्सर्जन ने पर्यावरण को तो दूषित किया ही है, साथ ही साथ इसने फसल चक्र को भी काफी प्रभावित किया है। सवाल यह उठता है कि पर्यावरण को बचाने के लिए क्या वैश्विक स्तर पर कुछ हो रहा है? क्या हम कभी इस समस्या से निपट पाएंगे? क्या हम अपनी आने वाली पीढ़ी को स्वच्छ वातावरण उपलब्ध करा पाएंगे? वर्तमान परिस्थिति को देखकर तो ऐसा नहीं लगता। हां कुछ लोग ज़रूर हैं जो पर्यावरण को बचाने के लिए प्रयासरत हैं। हमें यह समझना होगा कि पर्यावरण को बचाने की ज़िम्मेदारी सिर्फ केद्र सरकार और राज्य सरकारों की ज़िम्मेदारी नहीं है।

पर्यावरण को स्वच्छ रखना हम सब की ज़िम्मेदारी है। ग्लोबल वार्मिंग का खतरा आज जिस तरह से बढ़ रहा है, उससे कोई अंजान नहीं है। शहर तो शहर, गांव-देहात के लोग भी पर्यावरण संरक्षण की दिशा में थोड़े-बहुत ही सही, पर सोचने लगे हैं। छत्तीसगढ़ में आई विनाशकारी प्राकृतिक आपदा एवं चक्रवाती तूफान फैलिन ने सोए लोगों को जगाया है। सरकारी व गैर सरकारी स्तर पर धरती को बचाने को लेकर चिंता की जा रही है। गत दो-तीन साल से बिहार के समाचार पत्रों ने दीपावली पर केरोसिन व पटाखों का प्रयोग न करने को लेकर स्कूली छात्र-छात्रों व लोगों के बीच अभियान चलाया है। इसका असर भी दिख रहा है। बीते दीपावली पर मुज़फ़्फ़रपुर के छात्र-छात्रों ने पटाखों के पैसे बचा कर एक अस्पताल में भर्ती मरीजों के बीच फल व कपड़े बांट कर पर्यावरण बचाने का संदेश दिया। मोतिहारी में एक स्कूल के बच्चों व प्रबंधन ने मिलकर प्रकाश पर्व दीपावली पर पौधे रोप कर अभियान को आगे बढ़ाया।

जौ और जई से पर्यावरण बचाने का मुहिमपॉलीथिन से मिट्टी, पानी दूषित हो रहा है। इसके अंधाधुंध प्रयोग से नाले, नदियां एवं शहर के ड्रेनेज सिस्टम की सेहत बिगड़ रही है। कागज़ और कपड़े के झोले गायब हो गए। एक समय था जब हम बाज़ार जाते थे, घर से कपड़े का थैला ले जाना नहीं भूलते थे। लेकिन आज हम एक माचिस भी खरीदते हैं, तो दुकानदार से पॉलीथिन मांगना नहीं भुलते हैं। पॉलीथीन के बढ़ते इस्तेमाल से आज घर-घर ,गली-गली ,सड़कों पर पॉलीथिन का कचरा बिखरा पड़ा दिख जाता है। जानवर कूड़े के ढेर पर जूठन या अन्य सामान खाते हैं, वे पॉलीथिन भी खा जाते हैं। यह उसके लिए हानिकारक है। पॉलीथिन के खतरे से निपटने के लिए कई प्रदेशों ने इस पर प्रतिबंध लगाया है। मुज़फ़्फ़रपुर नगर निगम ने हाल में पॉलीथिन के प्रयोग पर प्रतिबंध लगाया है। प्रतिबंध के बावजूद पॉलीथिन का प्रयोग करने वाले दुकानदारों पर जुर्माना लगाया जा रहा है। इस तरह की कार्रवाई के ज़रिए ही हम पॉलीथिन के इस्तेमाल को कम कर सकते हैं।

इधर, कृषि क्षेत्र में भी ग्लोबल वार्मिंग के खतरे से निपटने के लिए कवायद चल रही है। बिहार का कृषि विभाग तापमान को नियंत्रित रखने वाली खरीफ व रबी की चार फसलों जौ, जई, मडुवा व बाजरे से पर्यावरण संरक्षण की मुहिम को तेज करने जा रहा है। राज्य सरकार ने राष्ट्रीय कृषि विकास योजना में इन चारों फसलों को शामिल किया है, ताकि किसान इन फसलों को उगा कर पर्यावरण मित्र की अहम भूमिका निभा सके। दरअसल, जौ व जई की खेती में लागत कम होने के साथ रासायनिक खाद व कीटनाशकों का प्रयोग भी नहीं करना पड़ता है। इन फसलों को पानी भी अधिक नहीं चाहिए। लिहाज़ा इसकी खेती से पानी का बचत भी होगा। इन फसलों को लगाने लिए विभाग ने किसानों को प्रोत्साहन देने का मन बनाया है। जौ व जई की खेती के लिए 1600 रुपए प्रति एकड़ प्रोत्साहन राशि दी जाएगी। मुज़फ़्फ़रपुर के जिला कृषि पदाधिकारी के के शर्मा कहते हैं ‘‘राज्य सरकार ने टीडीसी को जौ व एनएससी को जई का बीज उपलब्ध कराने का निर्देश दिया है।

जौ और जई से पर्यावरण बचाने का मुहिममक्का, धान, गेहूं के मुकाबले इन फसलों में रासायनिक खाद व कीटनाशकों का प्रयोग नगण्य होता है। राज्य सरकार की ओर से इन फसलों को प्रोत्साहन देने का मुख्य उदेश्य किसानों में पर्यावरण के प्रति जागरूकता पैदा करना है। केंद्र सरकार के साथ-साथ राज्य सरकारें पर्यावरण को नुकसान से बचाने के लिए तरह तरह के उपाय कर रही है। लेकिन लोगों में जागरूकता की कमी की वजह से सरकार की ओर से चलाई जा रही पर्यावरण बचाओ मुहिम का फायदा बहुत ज़्यादा नहीं हो पा रहा है। पर्यावरण को साफ सुथरा बनाए रखने के लिए सभी को अपना कर्तव्य समझना होगा और साथ मिलकर काम करना होगा। कहने का तात्पर्य यह है कि अगर पर्यावरण के प्रति हमने संजीदगी न दिखाई तो आने वाला समय भयावक हो सकता है। अब वक्त आ गया है कि सभी राष्ट्र विकसित और विकासशील की श्रेणी से उठकर पर्यावरण खतरे का निदान ढूंढे। हमें पुरानी गलतियों से सीख लेकर एक साथ इस समस्या के निदान के लिए काम करना होगा।

India Water Portal