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Heat wave to harm public health, agriculture sector: Sherry

Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Thursday said the Ministry has issued an official Heatwave alert to all provinces as abrupt temperature rise would jeopardize public health and agriculture.

In a statement, the minister criticized the previous regime for not taking adequate measures despite prior warnings issued by various international environmental watchdogs at the onset of the ongoing year. “The former government should have taken precautionary measures to deal with the Heatwave as international organizations had warned of a severe and prolonged Heatwave in the region,” Sherry said.

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The minister said South Asia and the world is facing a severe heatwave this year. “The temperature in the border areas of Pakistan and India is expected to go up to 49 to 50 degrees Celsius,” she added. “Extreme Heat waves are a sign of climate change and global warming. Pakistan has been facing an unexpected heatwave since March,” she mentioned.

She further said that the temperatures in Pakistan are likely to rise by 6 to 8 degrees Celsius, which was more than usual this year. According to the Meteorological Department, this year has been the hottest month since March 1961, she added. While enunciating the global warming impacts recorded this year, she said the rainfall in March alone was 62 percent less than normal. In 2018, Nawabshah became the hottest city in the world in the month of April when mercury went above 50 degrees Celsius, she underscored. She urged the masses to take precautionary measures to avoid extreme heat.

The minister added that the intense heat posed a severe threat to human health and agricultural output. On Tuesday, PMD announced that a new Heatwave is expected to hit the cities and villages across the country this week, with daytime temperatures expected to be six to eight degrees Celsius above normal. Due to prolonged drought and an increase in the intensity of heat; aquifers, standing crops, vegetables and orchards are at risk of water shortage.

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According to the meteorological department, daytime temperatures are likely to rise gradually in most parts of the country in the coming days due to high wind pressure. PMD has directed the farmers to take appropriate measures to irrigate the crops according to weather conditions and authorities are concerned to protect the people from the Heatwave.

Meanwhile, the air quality of the federal capital on Thursday was recorded healthy as hazardous air pollutants were far below the permissible limits in the atmosphere due to reduced vehicular traffic during Ramazan. The air quality data has been collected by the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) which monitors air pollutants ratio for 24 hours based on three intervals of eight hours of data collection from different locations. The Pak-EPA data revealed that the air quality throughout the three intervals of data monitoring remained low as the pollutants were far less than the permissible limits of national environmental quality standards (NEQS).

The hazardous air pollutant particulate matter of 2.5 microns (PM2.5) which was a lethal atmospheric contaminant remained 16.6 microgrammes per cubic meter on average which is below the NEQS of 35 mic-programmes per cubic meter and denotes the air quality healthy. The PM2.5 is generated through combustion of an engine, industrial emissions, burning garbage or inflammable material, and dust blew up by fasting moving cars plying on non-cemented patches of the roads.



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