Islamabad - Pollution remains a major problem in the country, particularly in Sindh province, given its fast growing urbanization and lethargic role of relevant organizations.

A galaxy of environmental experts and activists expressed these views in an advocacy and awareness session on “Pakistan at risk of water and environmental pollution”, held under the auspices of Pakistan Intellectual Forum (PIF), here on Saturday.                

They said while most urban centers usually face problems, such as acute shortage of water, electricity, sanitation, transportation and transportation, there is a dire need for proper urban planning, city regional planning and civic sense in the society.  

They said water pollution poses a significant health risk, especially in the rural and remote areas in Sindh. Effects of oil exploration and sugar industry in the province are very hazardous. Local communities are being flushed out of their natural environment, they added.

Advocating for effective development policies and strategies, they said, “Provision of urban infrastructure service and envelopment constitute a real challenge today that deserves a focus on how this situation can be addressed and improved.

“We are in the 21st century and our country, Pakistan, has grown 68 years old but even then we are facing enormous challenges such as the absence of approaches, strategies and infrastructure tools for urban planning; inefficient land use policies and land management regulations; inadequate solid and liquid waste management as well as inadequate urban transportation facilities, traffic concessions, lack of transport terminals and stations,” they said.

Floating a few viable suggestions for sustainable urban infrastructure service delivery to the problems they said, “A renewed political will for effective implementation of the desired policies and rules of thump as effective delivery of urban development services, sensitisation of stakeholders about their roles, responsibilities and obligations, creating enabling environment of both domestic and foreign investment in the urban development sectors, developing robust management of urban infrastructure to ensure cost effective recovery and as well to ensure comprehensive approaches to tackle major concerns such as  land, shelter, traffic jams and other social infrastructure service and ensuring urban development should be investment driven rather than a political vehicle, will go long way make this country pollution-free.”

The speakers included: Prof Naeem Ahmed, Dr Hussain Ali, Dr Imtiaz Ali and Hashim Abro of the PIF who was also the moderator of the session.

He thanked the learned audience and the speakers for their devotion of time and active role to generate awareness about this very important issue of environment in the rural and urban Pakistan.