Deforestation is cutting of trees for material usage or clearance of land for construction. With the growing globalization, the world is rapidly moving towards wastage of natural resources without keeping in view its imminent effects. Climate change or global warming is an established fact and its impacts on water, agriculture, health, biodiversity, and forest and socio-economic sectors are quite visible around the globe.
Deforestation occurs due to many factors: urbanization being one of them which has gone to its peak in Pakistan over few past years. Pakistan, being an underdeveloped country, has largely been agrarian in its nature. A report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs entitled “World Urbanization Prospects 2014” suggests that Pakistan is urbanizing at an annual rate of 3% — the fastest pace in South Asia. Given that, trees are cut to fulfill the requirement of products such as timber, paper etc. Fulfilling requirement limitations and regulations have settled to hinder over-deforestation—after cutting a full-grown tree, a sapling should be planted or trees ought to be cut partially so that they may not vanish completely.
According to an international law, selective cutting for prevention of infections or other well- being of trees is quite productive; whereas clearance cutting or grossly cutting of trees prove counterproductive. The law exerts that: “Except as hereinafter provided, no person shall, without the prior written approval of the authorized officer, cut, fell or damage or cause to be cut, felled or damaged any tree growing”
However, Dawn, on 8 April 2017, reported that around 5,280 full-grown Neem trees, planted along the Superhighway by the Sindh forest department, were cut by contractors to widen space for the highway being constructed. In lots of developed countries more than 25% of the land is covered with forests; in Pakistan, it is less than 4%, however.
Global warming is the phenomenon where earth and its atmosphere get warmer at a progressive rate due to pollution generated in different forms, since the start of Industrial Revolution during the 18th century. If this process is permitted to continue unchecked, it can, eventually, cause polar ice glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and ice sheets to melt and raise the sea levels. A day is likely to come—in distant future—when the whole globe will be covered with watermarking the end of life. The process has already begun!
Unfortunately, Pakistan has been vulnerable to climate change because of its geographical position where the increase in temperature is expected to be higher than the global average. Pakistan’s land area is mostly arid and semi-arid (about 60 percent of the area receives less than 250 mm of rainfall per year and 24 percent between 250-500 mm). And its rivers are predominantly fed by the Hindu Kush-Karakoram and Himalayan glaciers, which are reported to be receding rapidly due to global warming. The economy of the country, for being largely agrarian, is highly climate-sensitive; hence the country faces increasingly high risks of floods and extended droughts. Under the influence of all factors, Water Security, Food Security and Energy Security of the country, are under serious threat.
Trees emit oxygen and absorb co2 to keep a balance of gases in the atmosphere. Contemporary, vast swathes of the earth are engulfed by Green House gases and balance in the atmosphere has already been in shambles now. Without taking action against global warming, the world’s average surface temperature is projected to rise in the 22nd century and is likely to surpass 3 degrees Celsius this century.
It should be understood that the Earth receives radiation from the Sun and absorbs 70% of it that warms up the land and the oceans to a certain degree of temperature, which reflects 30% back that warms up the atmosphere to a certain degree of temperature. This is the process of Green-House effect in which the emission of infra-red radiation from the sun warms planet’s surface. In the absence of this greenhouse effect, the Earth’s average surface temperature of 14 degree Celsius would be 18 degree Celsius under which existence of life would have become a bit ahead than impossible. Global warming is the result of an enhanced Green-House effect due to increased concentration of some other gases in addition to atmosphere’s own mixture of gases: 89% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.03% carbon dioxide, and six other minor gases.
Though a complete solution does not seem to be in sight, but still, for a progressive world which we live in, it may not be an impractical task in time to come. Any sympathetic and caring government, for sure, around the world would put all efforts to the welfare of citizenry rather than putting its life at risk by allowing tree-cutting mafia to practice to their all potential.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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