Disaster Management
Climate Change Hits Home: Understanding Its Impact on Pakistan

Climate Change Hits Home: Understanding Its Impact on Pakistan



Pakistan, while contributing minimally to global emissions, finds itself on the frontline of climate change impacts. This evolving global phenomenon, exacerbated primarily by human activities, has seen its adverse effects ripple through nations, but it's countries like Pakistan that endure the most direct hits due to climate change. From its diverse landscapes to its teeming populations and ecosystems, all are witnessing unsettling transformations.


Pakistan's mountains, rivers, and deserts, once symbols of natural beauty, are now testimonies to the adversities of climate change. They're undergoing significant changes that pose grave threats to both human and wildlife inhabitants.


Understanding Climate Change Impacts:

One unmistakable sign of climate change is the global rise in temperature. Current research underscores that this thermal surge is unparalleled in history and suggests an even sharper rise in the coming decades. As a result of climate change, Pakistan is grappling with increased occurrences of climate-induced disasters. These range from floods, a direct consequence of glacier melting and altered rainfall patterns, to forest fires intensified by escalating temperatures and erratic rainfalls.


Temperate zones in Pakistan, once favorable for agriculture, are now witnessing the adversities of climate change. Many crops, sensitive to temperature fluctuations, are seeing reduced yields. This not only jeopardizes the livelihoods of farmers but also triggers food shortages and escalating prices—a ripple effect of climate change.


Pakistan's wildlife, especially species residing in extreme temperature zones, are finding it hard to adapt to these abrupt changes. Climate change is reshuffling habitats and food sources, putting numerous indigenous species at risk. This includes the iconic Snow Leopard, Markhor, and the Indus River Dolphin, among others.


Humans, the most adaptable species, are also feeling the heat. From the water crisis in regions like Sindh and Baluchistan due to climate change-induced droughts to the flooding of areas like Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the challenges are ever-mounting. Health risks such as heat strokes, hypothermia, and even an increased incidence of skin diseases due to UV ray exposure underline the urgency to address climate change.


Climate change is reshaping ecological systems, leading to a surge in once dormant diseases. For instance, Lyme Disease is making a resurgence, and changing water patterns are ushering in diseases like dengue, malaria, and cholera.


Despite its challenges, Pakistan isn't passive. Civil societies are rallying against the threats of climate change, initiating mitigation steps. Yet, for more substantial, lasting change against the tide of climate change, cohesive state-level interventions and strategies, such as afforestation, water conservation, and ecosystem rehabilitation, are crucial.


By Warda Waheed