Climate change to hit flow of Indus
By M.Hussain Khan
HYDERABAD, Oct 13: Global warming is having a disastrous impact on Sindh’s climate, especially on the Indus River, which would lose 27 per cent of its flow by 2050.
A study conducted by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommends that an evaluation be done for post-Tarbela effects on Indus delta particularly Kotri down stream.
These issues were discussed at a consultative meeting organised by Shirkatgah, in the office of Strengthening Participatory Organisation here Monday.
Managing Director Sindh Irrigation Drainage Authority (SIDA), Hashim Leghari, an environmental expert Naseer Memon of Lead Pakistan, Nasir Panwhar of WWF’s “Indus for All Programme”, Zubaida Birhamani, a university teacher, Ali Murtaza Dharejo, Nazeer Memon, Arab Mallah and others spoke on the occasion.
Naseer Memon gave a detailed multi-media presentation to participants in order to make them realise how badly global warming is affecting climate change in the South Asia region particularly in Pakistan and then in Sindh. He said that climatic changes take place in centuries but the pace has accelerated due to global warming and due to some large scale human activity in terms of industrialisation.
He said that while emission of greenhouses gases were necessary to some extent and considered blessings but after 1800 onwards it had caused problems. Unfortunately, he said, our country is located in the vicinity of the hot and risk zone. He said that life cycle of snow covers had melted which is leading to floods in absence of mangroves.
Quoting report of International Penal on Climate Change (IPCC), he said that “Indus River flow would be affected by 27 per cent in 2050 due to climate change”, he said.
About land degradation, he said that according to that study, currently 0.8 hectare per capita land was available but by 2010, it would be reduced to 0.3 hectare per capita.
He said that temperature would increase by 0.9 degree centigrade in 2020 in semi-arid region to increase wheat yield to 2.5 per cent and it would drop by four per cent when temperature is recorded at 1.8 degree centigrade in 2050.
He pointed out that precipitation pattern would also affect ground water aquifers and less precipitation had increase drought which would ultimately cast a negative impact on livelihood of people.
He said that due to Cyclone 2A in Badin on May 19,1999 infrastructure losses were estimates at Rs750 million and continued sea intrusion had eroded fertile land.
He said that Karachi coastline is also on fault line as far as earthquake zone is concerned. He maintained that mangroves, as per reports, absorb 70 to 90 per cent energy of normal wave.
“In Sindh mangroves used to be on 263,000 hectares in 1977 but as per 2002 WWF study, they exist on just 80,000 hectares”, he said. t Mangroves are natural shield and a study also shows that 1936 cyclone was less severe as compared to 1999 due to mangroves existence, he added.
MD SIDA Hashim Leghari said that such presentation should be given at provincial and federal government level.
He further said that an evaluation should be done to know the post-Tarbela Dam construction effects on Indus delta as well as riverine forest.
WWF’s Nasir Panwhar said that policy makers at federal level don’t have proper understanding of environmental issues. He said that life style of people had also changed and even in villages there is great activity of different type of luxuries which was unheard of in the past.
He said that there is need that some no-vehicles zones should be created in the country on the pattern of China where cycle riding is promoted.
He called for academic debates and awareness by educational institutions.