ISLAMABAD, Jan 17 (Diplomatic Star): Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam has said that the present government was taking all-out measures to help Gilgit-Baltistan government to overcome challenges of environmental degradation, solid waste, climate change and deforestation.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government was aware of the exacerbating challenges being faced by the climate-vulnerable region of Gilgit-Baltistan, which have led to negative fallouts for various social and economic sectors particularly water, energy and agriculture,” Malik Amin Aslam said.
He expressed these views during his meeting with the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan.
While referring to various climate change and environment-related studies of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Malik Amin Aslam highlighted that over recent years, the global warming-caused events of glacial melting, glacial lake outburst floods, riverine floods and shifting rainfall patterns have shown rising frequency and intensity, affecting badly not only socio-economic lives of the region but also those in the southern parts of the country.
Meanwhile, sharing about deleterious impacts of environmental degradation and climate change, the Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister informed the Prime Minister’s aide Malik Amin Aslam that lack of alternative to fuelwoods, which is mined from the local forest areas, have led to massive tree-felling unabated since long.
Besides, galloping human populations in the region and mass tourism, characterized by unsustainable tourism practices, have proved devastating for the Gilgit-Baltistan region’s once pristine, serene and untainted environment and polluting the turquoise river waters with solid waste, the Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister Mohammad Khalid Khursheed added.
The chief minister pointed out that the region lacks sustainable solid waste management facilities, alternative energy facilities such as solar and energy efficient/saving cooking stoves, which have led to overall environmental contamination and posing public health risks.
Lack of climate-resilient infrastructures, climate-smart housing facilities have also exposed the residents of the region’s mountain areas to mounting socio-economic miseries including poverty, mal-nutrition, hunger and joblessness, he further highlighted.
Malik Amin Aslam asked the chief minister for rolling out a Gilgit-Baltistan-specific elaborate plans regarding promotion of afforestation activities, establishment of sustainable solid waste management facilities, promotion of sustainable and environmental-friendly tourism, sustainable water management practices, climate-smart agriculture practices, alternative livelihood plans, monitoring of glacial melting and glacial lake outburst floods to cope with fallouts of climate change impacts on various socio-economic sectors, climate-resilience of public infrast4ucture and the local people’s lives and livelihoods.
“Once the coping plans are handy, efforts would be taken up with the Prime Minister Imran Khan to get budgetary funds allocated for them,” Malik Amin Aslam assured the Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister.
Besides, foreign funding channels would also be explored for funding of these project plans for achieving the region’s overall climate resilience and environmental sustainability, the PM’s aide added.