Stories about environment

Is the food at your child’s school canteen safe?

According to the World Food Programme,  “When a person is not getting enough food or not getting the right sort of food, malnutrition is just around the corner” But while trying to define the ‘right food’, one is instantly made aware of all the ‘wrong’ food that is being consumed. It’s shocking how excessively such low quality and injurious food is multiplying in the local markets and school canteens – devoid of any supervision by the concerned food authorities. The effects of junk food are evident amongst our children who face various forms of ailments. Recently, my nephew was diagnosed with obesity and ...

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Dear Karachiites, before you plant trees, think

The heat wave that killed more than 1,300 people in Karachi seems like a long time ago. Concerned citizens, in the heat of the moment, promised to plant trees, but very little has been said regarding when and how this can be done. As time is passing and cool monsoon winds are blowing away painful memories of the heat wave, the promises seem to be dissipating. Where memories are short lived, long-term efforts to mitigate a recurrence of the same catastrophe seem nowhere in sight. That is the problem with climate change – the cause and effect, both take place over extended periods of time. ...

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Are we really going to blame India for the heatwave?

The recent heat wave in Karachi that has claimed over a thousand lives is one more nail in our government’s coffin of negligence and its inability to deal with a crisis. It has also become the norm in the subcontinent to give public officials the opportunity to show just how mind-numbingly dumb they really are. In a recent statement, the Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan has said that the actual responsibility for the heat wave lies with the boogie across the border, India. He claims that coal-powered plants in Rajasthan, India could have contributed to the heat wave. The senator does not quote any scientific research to support his claim, ...

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Over 400 dead in Karachi and yet we have no plan of action

More than 400 people have died in Karachi since yesterday, due to the deadly heat wave that has laid siege over the city. That’s more than 400 homes struck by tragedy for no apparent reason. That’s more than 400 lives simply wasted away because the local government had no system in place for such a calamity. But then again, when was the last time that we had a system in place for anything? Even in this recent tragedy, chaos ensued. Even hospitals around the city were not equipped to handle the commotion. Jinnah Hospital ran out of ORS and clean drinking water because of the ...

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World Environment Day: Are Pakistanis dirty or simply lazy?

Imagine driving through the busiest street of a major metropolitan city in Pakistan. What would you see? Buildings, vehicles, street vendors, a crowd of people? Obviously. But alongside this, you would also be welcomed by a heap of filthy, smelly garbage simple lying around the pavements. And ironically, this view is not unique to one street; almost every street in all major areas of Pakistan has the same scene welcoming those who travel through them. If ones environment signifies ones psyche, then we Pakistanis indeed have very dirty minds. But, as most would argue, this isn’t our fault… right? I mean, is it ...

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10 ‘guarantees’ given by tuition centres that should be questioned

Pakistan is witnessing the evolution of private schools along with the mushrooming of evening tuition academies. They manage to fascinate parents with an extravagant jingle and it has become the biggest educational discotheque where parents gamble, over-invest and most of the times, the results are not quite as anticipated. They all claim to achieve results and they all have different, ‘effective’ methods to help your child ace their way. But how is a parent supposed to know? Are they just supposed to go by their ‘claim’? Here are 10 ‘guarantees’ given by every tutor or tuition centre which must be questioned before any ...

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Balochistan: Self-inflicted misery?

My fondest childhood memories are of rolling down the landscaped gardens of the rest-house located beside the Quaid-e-Azam’s residency in Ziarat. The undulating open space spotted with the frosted looking juniper trees provided an ideal environment for the equally inviting wooden dens; and the fresh dew on the grass under the clear blue sky was then so tempting for us to feel. Visiting these dream homes used to be the highlight of our summer vacations. The short picnics to Hanna Lake, Ziarat and Wali Tangi were enriching and peaceful to say the least. Quetta, I should say, was one of the most ...

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The tree trunks of Cambridge and an old people’s home

I have always been an ardent admirer of trees. One of my earliest childhood memories is accompanying my elder sister to watch a parrot living inside an old tree trunk. Very stealthily, we used to approach the old tree, making sure we did not cripple dead leaves or twigs under our feet, thereby alerting the parrot of our visit. It was a surreal moment for me as a child; witnessing a tree being home to a bird, since before that I had only pictured birds either flying or preying upon insects from the ground. Ever since, I started keeping an eye ...

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Humiliation, detention and beatings do NOT help children at school!

The environment in some Pakistani schools, particularly, government schools, is uncivilised at best and tyrannical at worst. While studying Psychology, I was compelled to look back at events from my childhood and school days. There were times in school when a few of my fellow students were mistreated by their teachers and class mates. Every class has a few students who are slightly slow at learning or grasping certain subjects or concepts. In my class, Zara was one such girl. She was mistreated by each and every teacher along with all the students in the class only because she was unable ...

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Are the days of joint families over?

A family unit in its traditional form consists of grandparents, all their children, their children’s wives and their grandchildren all living harmoniously under one roof. If carried out properly, it can serve as a very warm, welcoming and homely environment which encourages cooperation, understanding, love and patience.  The joint family system has been depicted in several dramas and movies, and at a certain point in my life, I was a huge supporter of it. However, I no longer think a joint family system serves a useful purpose and actually lacks the warmth and affability that it once possessed. Don’t get me wrong! I am not ...

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