Plan To Grow More Trees In Karachi Still Not Implemented

Pakistanis have seen and experienced the consequences of deforestation and cutting down of trees. Heat waves continue to affect numerous residents in Karachi. However, the government had taken the responsibility to plant millions of trees to help reduce these adverse weather conditions.

After a heat wave killed approximately 1,300 in the previous year, the government had thought it wise to find a solution to this environmental problem that has lead to several deaths. Large sums of money have been earmarked to execute this initiative. But still a year on, there are no signs that the government is fulfilling its promise.

The provincial minister Sharjeel Memon reported that the campaign that was to help raise funds and increase awareness about tree planting went down the drain after the minister was found to be involved in corrupt practices and was sacked.

On the other hand, a senior official in the government claimed that similar initiatives have been budgeted for in other parts of the country.

But far from what is been said by officials that there is still an increase in cutting down trees and no sign of new ones being grown. Trees are being cut down for several reasons which include for generating income, safety measures, and agricultural purposes. Even though the list goes on, this situation is not an appealing one for the residents of Karachi as it is leading to very serious and dangerous climatic effects.

The government had been known to cut down trees with the claims of doing so for security reasons without making any efforts to plant new ones.

The Eucalyptus tree had to be imported from Australia after Pakistan had no means to produce paper or pulp which was no longer being imported in the country. The troubles with having this type of tree soon came to light as is began blocking the sewerage system and pummeled the water passage.

The eucalyptus tree is a water-intensive plant that consumes a lot of water. It was estimated to have consumed 90 liters of water on a daily basis which affected the amount of groundwater available in Karachi and other cities. However, the tree is of great importance in the production of paper and pulp for Pakistanis. The trees can be seen in various parts of the country.

The general public had been prohibited to plant eucalyptus trees on fertile lands. Eucalyptus trees can however, be grown in swampy areas where there is enough water to be consumed by the plants and not affect the domestic water supply.

In a bid to protect the water supply in Karachi and other neighborhoods, the government had a number of eucalyptus trees to be cut down. A test was later carried out to see if a solution could be found and date palm trees were planted instead

Dr Tahir Qureshi an ecosystem expert disclosed that the government had made a mistake in making this decision. He went on to back his statement by saying “without that date palm trees can only be planted along shoreline through particular technology, the government planted the tree the same way other trees are grown and they made the disaster worst eventually.”

After this disappointment, another type of tree was grown commonly known as the Ethiopian Teak. It was planted all over the city. Although this plant was a success in surviving without affecting the sewerage and water supply, it also had its negative impacts. It produced a certain kind of toxin that killed other plants and acted as an allergen to some people.

Some citizens disagreed with the claims that the plant was an allergen saying” the Ethiopian Teak has passed a decade in many parts of Karachi, the tree has been fruitful and people even plant them in their environment. Yet still no one has ever complained of having an allergic reaction.”

Source link:http://www.newspakistan.pk/2016/06/13/plan-grow-trees-karachi-still-not-implemented/

MONITORING TEAMS FORMED TO CHECK HEATSTROKE MEASURES

Karachi—Provincial minister health Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar has said that Sindh government has taken concrete steps to counter the on-going heat wave and the more to come in June as well. This he said while presiding over a meeting in Sindh secretariat here. All DHOs of Karachi, Medical Superintendents of public sector hospitals, Commissioner Karachi, KMC officers and others also attended the meeting.

The commissioner Karachi briefly briefed the health minister about the measures taken by the administration to save people from severe heat waves. Expressing his satisfaction on overall progress, the provincial minister health directed them to keep a vigilant eye on these measures and form monitoring and vigilance teams to make them effective round the clock so that no mishap might be taken place.

He also directed to establish tents at certain points in Karachi especially in Ramazan and availability of water and wet towels to be ensured there to soothe the heatstroke affected patients. Dahar also directed MSs to be ready for emergency situation and arrange extra beds, Wheel chairs, medical staff, medicines and water for heatstroke patients and erect shades on open place for patients. The medical superintendents informed the health minister that they had already taken such steps and would try to improve the facilities.

The minister health warned them that he would monitor all the on-going practice himself and pay surprise visits to check on-ground realities and if he found any negligence he would take strict action against them and one would be spared because it was the matter of the lives of human beings. In another meeting with Dr.Saeed Qureshi MS Trauma Centre Civil hospital, the health minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar directed him to make the trauma centre functional in couple of weeks because it must be functional soon to benefit the people. The MS Dr Saeed Qureshi and PD Hayat kamal assured the health minister that the trauma centre would be functional in given time.—INP

 

Source link:http://pakobserver.net/2016/05/23/monitoring-teams-formed-to-check-heatstroke-measures/

Helping animals beat the heat during heatwaves

KARACHI: Safari Park administration have brought a major change in their water supply after they laid a canal water system that now supplies water to almost every cage of the zoo, in order to help the animals stay cool during intense heatwaves.

Speaking about the new water supplying system, the park’s additional director Dr Kazim Hussain said that they acquired this system in the beginning of April and before that the supply was dependent on water bowsers. He said that water is supplied to these lines from the main water reservoir of the park that was built during the early days of Safari Park. Hussain added that the new system will also help the administration in cultivating the barren land of the park.

Pakistan sizzles in hottest week of year

Referring to the specific diet of animals and birds during summers, Hussain said that they increase the amount of glucose, minerals and vitamins as the temperature rises. He added that it is fine if the temperature rises to 44 degree Celsius for a day, but if the temperature remains high consecutively for three to four days, then this causes casualties.

 

Source  link :http://tribune.com.pk/story/1115778/avoiding-casualties-helping-animals-beat-heat-heatwaves/

Karachi readies graves, hospitals, in case heat wave hits again

KARACHI: Pakistani grave digger Shahid Baloch is taking no chances. Like many people in the port city of Karachi, he was caught out by the severity of last summer's heat wave which killed more than 1,300 people, and has hired a digger to excavate three elongated trenches big enough for 300 bodies.

"Thanks to God, we are better prepared this year," said Baloch, 28, who works with three brothers at the vast Karachi cemetery run by the charitable organisation Edhi Foundation.

When the heat wave struck in the summer of 2015, hospitals, morgues and graveyards in the city of 20 million people were overwhelmed, and drug addicts, day labourers and the elderly were the biggest victims of the searing heat.

Temperatures hit 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit), their highest since 1981 and above normal summer levels of around 37C (99F).

Intervention by the army and charity groups staved off an even worse disaster, locals said, but the crisis exposed the shortcomings of Pakistani emergency services in coping with environmental disasters that scientists say will become more common in the future.

Pakistan's meteorological office is not predicting a repeat of last year's extreme conditions, but, like Baloch in the cemetery, officials are preparing for the worst just in case.

"It will not get out of control the way it happen last year," said Karachi Commissioner Asif Hyder Shah, adding that nearly 60 hospitals now have spare capacity for 1,850 heat wave patients.

Last summer patients slept on ward floors and long queues formed outside Karachi's main state hospitals at the peak of the heat wave.

Shah said nearly 200 first response centres have been set up across the city, offering basic heat-stroke treatment to swiftly stabilise patients. There are also 700 makeshift relief centres, dishing out drinking water and rehydration salts.

"This will save lives. It's a comfort," said street vendor Muhammad Mahmood, 32, after downing a cup of water at one centre. Next to him, children in school uniforms queued to quench their thirst.

Edhi Foundation, at the heart of efforts to limit the suffering caused by the heat wave last year, said it was expanding its huge fleet of ambulances, anchoring extra shelves in its morgue freezer and buying ice machines to keep patients and corpses cool.

Last summer, the Edhi morgue ran out of freezer space after about 650 bodies were brought in the space of a few days. Ambulances left decaying corpses outside in sweltering heat.

UNDER-INVESTMENT HAMPERS PLANS

Similar macabre scenes plagued Karachi's cemeteries, where grave diggers refused to work in the baking sun and charged up to five times normal rates for burial plots.

"People were not able to buy those graves," said Faisal Edhi, managing trustee of the Edhi Foundation. "They buried their dead in their relatives' graves."

Efforts to prepare for extreme heat have been limited by decades of under-investment in Pakistan's crumbling electricity grid and water infrastructure, leaving the sprawling city vulnerable in times of crisis.

The problem last year was compounded by power cuts which left people unable to cool themselves with fans and air conditioners, particularly affecting those unable to afford generators.

Source link:http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/121439-Karachi-readies-graves-hospitals-in-case-heat-wave-hits-again

Graves, foundations and hospitals get ready in Karachi

KARACHI: A grave digger in Karachi that was caught up last summers when the heat wave killed more than 1,300 people, has hired a digger to dig elongated trenches that have a space to bury 100 people each.

Baloch is 28 years old and he works along with his other three brothers in Karachi cemetery that is run by Edhi charitable foundation.

Baloch said, "Thanks to God, we are better prepared this year”.

In summer 2015 when the heat wave struck, graveyards, hospitals and morgues were loaded in a city of more than 20m people.

Most of the victims of heat wave were daytime labourers, drug addicts and elderly people that beg or did not have shelter.

Since 1981, it was the highest temperature of 111 Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius) and the normal heat level reached 37 degrees (99F).

"It will not get out of control the way it happen last year," said Karachi Commissioner Asif Hyder Shah, adding that nearly 60 hospitals now have spare capacity for 1,850 heat wave patients.

During the heat disaster of last year, patients were forced to sleep on the floor of ward because of the long awaiting queues. Up to 200 response centres have been arranged in the city that will offer an initial heat-stroke treatment in order to stabilise the conditions of patients

There are also 700 relief centres that are serving water and rehydration salts. While drinking a cup of water at one of the relief centres, a street vendor Muhammad Mahmood said, "This will save lives. It's a comfort."

To minimize the suffering this year as caused last year, Edhi foundation has been doing their best. They are working on increasing the number of their ambulances, installing more shelves in morgue freezer and buying more cooling machines that will help cool down the patients and in keeping the corpses from rotting. Because last summers, their morgue freezer ran out of space after storing 650 bodies and ambulances left the dead bodies in heat outside.

Source link:http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/20-May-16/graves-foundations-and-hospitals-get-ready-in-karachi