LAHORE - WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan has said the Living Planet Index (LPI) has indicated decrease in global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles by 60 per cent from 1970 to 2014.

Speaking at launching of WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018 on Tuesday, he said declining populations were especially pronounced in the South America (89 per cent), Africa (56 per cent) and the Indo-Pacific (64 per cent) region which included Pakistan. The report presents a sobering picture of the impact of human activity on the world’s wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers and climate, underlining the rapidly closing window for action and the urgent need for the global community to collectively rethink and redefine how people value, protect and restore nature.

The Living Planet Report 2018 paints a singular disturbing picture: human activity is pushing the planet’s natural systems that support life on earth to the edge.

“Smuggling of freshwater turtles and pangolins are a growing concern as well as rising rates of deforestation. Increasing deforestation has contributed to increased threats for species such as the snow and common leopard which is fast losing its habitat. Pakistan is experiencing a steady rise in carbon emissions, which contributes to global issues such as climate change and global warming”, Hammad Naqi said, adding,

Lahore and Karachi were among 10 most polluted cities in the world in terms of air quality, according to air quality monitor AirVisual. “The ranking today puts Lahore at the top of the list, and urgent action needs to be taken to tackle this issue. Air pollution caused by traffic, industries, burning of crop and solid waste are major contributors of smog. The urban air pollution in Pakistan is among the world’s most severe, significantly damaging human health, quality of life, economy and the environment”, he said. He urged people to move around with face masks to protect themselves from breathing problems, eye, nose, and throat infections.

While shedding light on the extent and impact of human activity on nature, the Living Planet Report 2018 also focuses on the importance and value of nature to people’s health and well-being and that of our societies and economies. Globally, nature provides services worth around US$125 trillion a year, while also helping ensure the supply of fresh air, clean water, food, energy, medicines and other products and materials.

The report specifically looks at the importance of pollinators which are responsible for US$ 235-577 billion in crop production per year, and how a changing climate, intensive agricultural practices, invasive species and emerging diseases have impacted their abundance, diversity and health.

The report highlights the opportunity the global community has to protect and restore nature leading up to 2020, a critical year when leaders are expected to review the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

WWF is calling on people, businesses and governments to mobilize and deliver on a comprehensive framework agreement for nature and people under the CBD, one that galvanizes public and private action to protect and restore global biodiversity and nature and bend the curve on the devastating trends highlighted in the Living Planet Report 2018.

The report is the 12th edition of WWF’s biennial flagship publication. The report includes the latest findings measured by the Living Planet Index tracking 16,704 populations of 4,005 vertebrate species from 1970 to 2014.