Heat waves

Pakistan is amongst 10 most vulnerable countries badly affected by inevitable climate change and man-made activities such as incessant deforestation and reduction of green spaces that have exacerbated environmental conditions. Karachi witnessed over 2000 causalities due to heat waves since 2015. Apart from that intermittent power outages particularly in the holy month of the Ramazan have exacerbated and crippled the life of Karachities. However, safety measures are important to stave off impact of heat wave. According to Meteorological department, harsh and severe weather conditions would perpetuate for at least few more days.
There are some short terms and long-term strategies to manage this situation. The short-term solutions encompass GIS mapping through which city hotspots can be identified for the provision of special services. Lighter clothes and avoid unnecessary exposure to sunlight and to keep body calm and placate, foods during sehri and iftari should be wisely chosen – watery fruits are highly recommended. Moreover, Awareness campaigns through multiple social media tools are highly productive to save precious lives.
The pragmatic and long-term approach is to plant maximum trees in the city to reduce rising temperature. It is pertinent to mention that Karachi based social activist Shahazad Qureshi efficiently by emulating the concept of Japanese scientist Akira Miyawaki has established multiple tiny urban forest in Karachi containing 300-350 plants – ability to grow ten times faster than normal forest and can reduce 4-5 Degree Celsius of temperature at the site. It is a marvellous effort and must be adulated by concerned departments by joining hands with him to make Karachi Green again ‘a peaceful green city’. This would surely reap desired and fruitful outcomes.
It is the responsibility of concerned departments to take apposite measures to grapple the situation effectively who always used to turn a deaf ear or give a cold shoulder and only become active when the situation becomes critical. Political parties needs to set aside myopic attitude and must give priority to environment in their manifestos. Now the time has come to take plausible and reasonable steps. There is dire need to take concrete and result-oriented measures to check heat waves in the country especially Karachi.
Haider Ali
Via email

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