Stories about environment

How Pakistan’s fashion industry is polluting the environment

Modern day fashion retailers have adopted the phenomenon of ‘fast fashion,’ which is characterised by the quick turnover of designs that move at breakneck speed from the ramp to the stores and eventually, into the garbage bin. Retailers aim to increase profits by focusing on key elements of the supply chain with an emphasis on increased manufacturing speed at lower costs. The concept of fast fashion has resulted in a changing industry dynamic that boasts a quick response ideology that has inculcated the capacity and ability of retail brands to generate quick merchandise turnover. A popular Spanish retailer that has ...

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How successful was COP25?

“We’ll be watching you,” said teen activist and global star Greta Thunberg to world leaders back in September at the UN in New York. Last week at the climate conference in Madrid she again called out political leaders from rich countries for “misleading” people about the climate crisis and “finding clever ways around having to take real action.” For me the highlight of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2019 (COP25) was Thunberg’s speech, given to the plenary during the ‘High-Level Event on Climate Emergency’. This was followed by an impromptu protest by fellow youth activists on the main stage ...

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The Clean Green Pakistan Index: A futile exercise?

Pakistan’s cities are ridiculously congested. They often feature a polluted water supply, over flowing garbage and toxic air pollution. As many environmentalists point out, they are gradually becoming unlivable, which is why many of us have welcomed the recent introduction of the Clean Green Pakistan Index. This index aims to encourage competition among Pakistan’s cities on various indicators like access to clean drinking water, safe sanitation, effective solid waste management and tree plantation. The index was launched in Islamabad this week and Prime Minister Imran Khan gave the example of his home-town Lahore which, in his younger days, was ...

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The Karachi Biennale: Is art a bigger threat than extra judicial killings?

What transpired at the Karachi Biennale 2019 (KB19) soon after its inauguration is simultaneously disquieting as well as deeply insightful. It presents an opportunity for us to reflect on the systemic and endemic intolerance for dissent that exists in our social, administrative, and political structures. We live in times where art and speech are not only censured by official channels but even society at large often turns a blind eye to the callous condemnation of free expression by the powers that be. Anything that makes them uncomfortable is considered taboo and everything that questions the status quo is considered a ...

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The resilient tribesmen and Balochistan’s Chilghoza trees

Last month at a ceremony held in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Action Summit, a project from a remote part of Balochistan, the Kasa Ghar Community Based Organisation of the Sulaiman Range, won the Equator Prize for conserving Chilghoza forests. I was thrilled to hear about the global recognition (the project was one amongst 22 communities across the world which were selected for this prize) as I have actually visited these Chilghoza forests in the Shirani district of Balochistan. By creating a successful value-added market model for Chilghoza nuts, this community-based organisation has conserved around 9,000 ...

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The world will not forgive ‘Captain Chainsaw’ if the Amazon continues to burn

The fires in the Amazon rainforest have been the current topic of discussion this past week on social media, as people share photographs and outrage over the destruction of the ‘lungs of the earth’. However, a lot of the information is not exactly accurate, including many outdated pictures that have gone viral. Some Brazilians also feel that there is some sort of conspiracy against their new government, led by their right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, especially since he has dismissed the scientific consensus about climate change, calling it a hoax. Given his allegations of a “fake news campaign built against our sovereignty,” perhaps the best ...

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High BMI and low stamina could not stop me from making that hike

This is going to take a while. I’m still processing my feelings after spending three nights in the middle of a local forest managed by Forest, Wildlife and Fisheries Department of Pakistan. There is so much that needs to be expressed because you cannot sum your experience up in a hashtag when it comes to the profoundness brought by nature. In comparison to other people, a sedentary lifestyle and a higher body mass index (BMI) barely helps you when climbing a few stairs or performing day-to-day physical tasks without experiencing fatigue. Walking for a few minutes seems like a never-ending task ...

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Re-wear that jeans and stay away from those burgers – Saving Pakistan’s water is on you now!

The last few days have been odd! As someone who has always been shown the “who cares, loser?” face when I tell them about my work as a water economist, I have lately been asked a lot about the water situation in Pakistan, as well as the possible solutions for it. “Kya asal may pani khatam horaha hai?” (Are we really running out of water?) “Hum dam kyun nahi bana letay buhat saray?” (Why don’t we build a lot of dams?) “India humara pani kyun kha raha hai?” (Why is India taking our water?) The water crisis in Pakistan is indeed real, and the debate is much larger ...

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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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