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Impact of climate change on coastal areas of Sindh is alarming: Experts

Islamabad: Experts on climate change have called for strict compliance of national climate change policy introduced in the year 2012, urging the government and non-development organizations to join hands for rehabilitation of ‘environmental refugees in Pakistan.

They were expressing their views on the impact of climate change on coastal areas of Sindh in Islamabad on Wednesday.

“How the climate change is threatening the coastal-belt of Sindh” was the subject of discussion.

The webinar was organized by Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad in collaboration with the Centre of Coastal and Deltaic Studies (CCD), Thatta, and Centre for Environmental Sciences (CES), and Jamshoro of University of Sindh.

IRS President Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz stressed the need to rationalize the approach to deal effectively with the climate challenge so that we could minimize the harmful impacts of environmental changes, particularly in the coastal areas of Sindh.

Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change (CSCCC) CEO Aisha Khan called for a greater understanding of climate change vulnerabilities and their impact on coastal areas.

While highlighting the causes of increasing coastal vulnerabilities, Aisha Khan underscored hydrological changes due to global warming as well as the changes in atmospheric pressure that resulted in frequent storms and cyclones, as the leading cause of rapid degradation of coastal belts.

The situation is alarming as 10 per cent of total population of Sindh is living in the vicinity of coastal areas along with heavy presence of industry that is around 40 per cent, said Aisha Khan.

Sindh’s coastal areas are more prone to cyclones as compared to Baluchistan, she added.

The environmentalist called for a holistic strategic plan that must include coastal land reforms along with other important elements of coastal resilience such as increasing community capacity, and preserving nature.

CCD Director Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Mahar said that climate change has brought a significant change in the coastline morphology of Sindh’s coastal belts.

Dr Mahar added that reduction in sediments, wave activity, rise in the sea level, pollution and over exploitation of coastal resources and wind erosion were causing rapid degeneration of Deltas.

He cautioned further decrease in agricultural activities, livestock and fisheries due to increase in sea intrusions which he said would ultimately impact upon the livelihood of the people living in and around the coastal belts.

Dr Mahar urged scientific intervention, and enhanced collaboration between the stakeholders to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

Assistant Professor at CES Dr Amanullah apprised the audience that the increase in the use of fossil fuels, and the deforestation was primarily causing the environmental changes in Pakistan.

Though, the country’s share in the rising global greenhouse gas emissions is minimal yet its impact is extremely consequential, he added.

Sea intrusions, cyclones and coastal pollution were also echoed by Dr Amanullah as the leading cause of coastal degradation along with the reduction in environmental flows, and exploitation of coastal resources.

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