Climate change devastating all arid areas of Sindh

KARACHI: Climate change is devastating all arid areas of Sindh including Chhachhro, Kohistan, Kachho, Nara region, Achro Thar and Tharparkar and is causing reduction in rains, drinking water, grazing fields and livestock.

“Fluoride contamination of underground water sources in Chhachhro and other area of Thar desert has led to grave health problems, while drinking water in other arid areas of the province is also harmful to health,” said Executive Director Society for Environmental Actions, Re-Construction and Humanitarian response (SEARCH) Pakistan in an interview to PPI on Sunday.

Exposure to excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime may lead to increased likelihood of bone fractures in adults, and may result in effects on bone leading to pain and tenderness, he said. Jamali said children aged 8 years and younger exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride have an increased chance of developing pits in the tooth enamel, along with a range of cosmetic effects to teeth.

“Kohistan, Kachho, Nara, Achro Thar and Tharparkar are badly hit by climate change. As a result, the people of these areas are passing life in miserable condition. The lack of government interest in resolving the issues of these people is strongly deplorable,” Jamali said.

“ The lives of people in arid areas had been affected by changing ground water quality, degradation of soil, range lands and deaths in livestock. The government needs to install water filter plants to ensure safe drinking water to the people of these deprived areas,” he said. SEARCH chief said that all the successive governments had failed to provide incentives to the people of arid areas and had left these people to face threats of droughts and other calamities caused by climate change.

He said that present Sindh government had done no significant work on environment conservation and development. “Sindh is running without environment policy which is a great loss. This shows how government is efficient. The rulers and bureaucracy seem to be in deep sleep as Sindh is facing huge losses due to environment pollutions and droughts.

Droughts come almost yearly or after two or three years in Thar but the actual need is to ensure constant and smooth relief and facilities to the people of Thar. The government is responsible to provide relief to the people affected by natural calamities in arid areas of Sindh. Forest and other environmental departments have closed their eyes from arid areas as a result, the range lands are under heavy stress due to overgrazing and lack of water.

He said: “It has been observed from complaints of people that local government officials are involved in corruption and there is no monitoring and no participation from locals pertaining to relief funds.

The climate change has also hit Chhachhro taluka of district Tharparkar. The land of this taluka is sandy with sand dunes. “It is the dry area with less vegetation. Communities are mostly dependent on livestock and rain agriculture.”

Jamali informed Sindh is the south-eastern province of Pakistan, which is spread over 140,914 sq kilometres. Sindh province can be divided longitudinally in three distinct sections of almost equal size. The western part is a hilly tract known as Kohistan. The central portion is a fertile valley irrigated by the River Indus while in the Eastern lays the desert section.

“Thar region is the largest desert area of Sindh with sub-Saharan conditions. It extends from the coastal area of the Runn and Kutch along the southern border with India to Sukkur covering an area of 19000 square kilometres. Kohistan area starts from the north of Karachi and moves along to Balochistan. The total area of this region is about 13,000 square kilometres,” Jamali informed.

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