Changing Patterns

The warning by the Pakistan Meteorological Department of a heatwave hitting Karachi in October is extraordinary. No one would have thought that the temperature scale would be hitting 40 Celsius or above at the tail end of the year, but this an indication of what is to come; unpredictable weather patterns and harsher, longer seasons. The government must consider the prediction as a visible sign of the effects of climate change on Pakistan.

Therefore, the government must do all that is necessary to save the country from the extreme heat that is now a frequent phenomenon. Many studies suggest that Pakistan will be amongst the most affected countries from climate change. And we already see the worst effects of climate change in the form of extreme heat. Climate responsibility entails that we look to the future and work towards sustainability.

Hospitals are on high alert to deal with any emergency. The officials have already informed the residents of the urban centres to make some slight changes in their routine and activities to avoid the harmful effects of the heatwave. It is essential not to forget the lessons of the heat-related deaths in 2015 which inform us about the clusters of vulnerability in the city.

According to one research, housing quality and type, population size, low-income levels, and a lack of awareness contribute to the increase of heat vulnerability. Hopefully, the district administration will make preparations according to the heat management plan. But the public’s cooperation will also be crucial in mitigating the casualties from the looming heatwave.

Long-term intervention strategies have gained significance to avoid the losses that climate change can cause. Incorporating changes in urban development, building design and codes, shifting to and investing in renewable energies and adopting eco-friendly transport policies should be prioritised. Making such interventions will equip us better to deal with climate change.

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