Pakistan is the country under the highest influence of the adverse effects of worsened environmental conditions. The environmental protection index (EPI) ranks Pakistan on 148 out of total 178 countries. The recent incident of smog in even developed cities is the clear evidence manifesting the deteriorated environmental conditions of the country. The smog led to increase in hospital admissions, due to eye irritation, asthma, respiratory issues and conditions worsened for elderly people and for those who were already suffering from heart and lung diseases. The negative effects of smog also included increased numbers of fatal road accidents.

Although the government tried to get hold of this huge problem but short run solutions to combat the negative environmental effects are not enough in the present scenario. There are two ways to cope with the continuously degraded environmental conditions: either we should adapt by finding ways to minimize the impacts of the deteriorated environmental conditions or there should be policies to make our surrounding environment clean and well balanced for survival. In this era of technology, the concepts of green development and green growth are the only sustainable ways to enhance national development in environment friendly ways.

The underlying concept of the green development revolves around three sub categories: efficient use of resources, considering environmental responsiveness and cultural sensitivity, which makes Green Development an economically viable source of benefit for both human and natural communities. According to UNEP, ten percent of the global GDP should be invested to ensure the greening of the major sectors of the economy. The government should fund green development with more focus on the major sectors of the economy. For funding purposes, the government can also generate Green Revenue by imposing fee and taxes on the use of public goods after a certain level beyond which the resource starts to exhaust. Carbon dioxide emissions taxes, and overall chemical emission taxes on polluting industries, are also a viable source for revenue generation. To reduce carbon foot printing government should establish vehicle free zones. There should be water usage fee after a certain amount per person per household.

Besides this, citizens’ attitudes and their willingness to participate in green growth of the country are also of crucial importance that can be developed through training and education. They should be encouraged to adopt green lifestyles, like low carbon foot printing, planting trees and waste disposal in environment friendly ways.

There should be harmony between other sector’s policies and green development policy to ensure green growth in all the sectors of the economy with more public private partnership. Inter-ministerial coordination is also of key importance in this context. More cost-effective way to ensure a long run green development in an economy is to plant trees in fellow land and increase in the forest cover of the country that can definitely ensure a country’s success on the ladder of greening the economy.

Pakistan is ranked at the lowest level in the medium-term human development bracket. This is true that in a country besieged with problems in health and education sectors and where people are struggling even for the basic needs of life, a huge investment in safeguarding public goods seems to be a luxurious way of spending the funds. But this era requires a green way of thinking to ensure a healthy physical existence of humankind on earth.

Planting more trees is a sustainable way to avoid the environmental problems in the long run. But quite unfortunately, despite their economic values, forests and tree plantation is the most neglected natural resource. Although the Government has started an afforestation project in all the provinces of the country, this budget allocation to the green development fund should be increased and should include a specific budget for local level training of the people to build up green attitudes in dealing with the surrounding environment to ensure sustainable development at national level. Environmental hazard is a cross border phenomenon. Its causes and effects are different from the other economic and social problems. At least a regional level integration is necessary to make our surrounding environment better for human existence but this can only be possible when each and every individual will break the barriers of restricted thinking.

According to a prediction by OECD, in the next 40 years, developing countries and emerging economies will make substantial growth; thus following a greener path of growth is very essential for global environmental sustainability. There should be some alternative to timber, fuel-woods and other forest related products and natural resource conservation policies should be developed with the inclusion of optimal extraction pathways. Although collaboration between academia and policy makers is required in all the sector of the economy, the engagement of environmentalists and environmental economists with all the development projects is of utmost importance to ensure that a certain development project will not harm the environment in any way. To enhance soil productivity, farmers should also be encouraged to plant trees along their agricultural farms, which provide an additional benefit of enhancing agricultural production in the long run by increasing soil productivity, which will ultimately ensure environmental protection as an additional benefit.