KARACHI                -               The National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) has said that the lockdown regime enforced in Karachi has provided an excellent opportunity to the authorities concerned to reassess urban sprawl, mass transportation and industrial needs of the city to curb harmful carbon emissions.

In a press statement issued on Saturday, NFEH President Naeem Qureshi said that Karachi was one of the major industrial and commercial hubs all over the world where lockdown orders had brought immediate drop in air pollution levels.

The NFEH president said that with public transportation completely halted, minimal use of private vehicles, and limited industrial activity, Karachi’s air pollution problem had been eased for the time being.

He said that the authorities who were responsible for mitigating the perennial environmental degradation issue of the city should take stock of the present situation.

He said that the relevant authorities should not miss this opportunity as they should properly do real time monitoring of the drop in air pollution levels in the city with massive decrease in public transportation and industrial activity due to the lockdown regime in place.

He said that such real time monitoring of the air pollution data should lead to proper research studies by the scientists whose findings would help the authorities concerned in mitigating the environmental issue.

“The main thing is that once the lockdown orders are withdrawn, benefits of the present situation for the city’s environmental conditions should be retained to a certain extent,” said Mr. Qureshi who is also convener of the FPCCI’s Central Standing Committee on Environment.

“Such benefits for our environment could only be achieved when we sit together now to do a proper reassessment of our needs to do industrial and transportation activities for the good of the society in a socially responsible and sustainable manner,” he said.

“The present situation once again teaches us the lesson we have long forgotten that environmental laws, rules, and regulations of the State should be enforced in a uniform and indiscriminate manner to mitigate the issue of environmental degradation,” he said.

“No doubt the Coronavirus epidemic has caused massive health emergency in our midst but this is like a blessing in disguise for us as we should not lose this opportunity,” said the NFEH president.