December 11, 2022

Heat wave to harm public health, agricultural sector: Sherry

Federal Climate Change Minister Senator Sherry Rehman said Thursday that the department has issued an official alert to all provinces because a sharp rise in temperature would jeopardize public health and agriculture.

In a statement, the minister criticized the previous regime for failing to take adequate action despite advance warnings issued by various international environmental watchdogs earlier this year. “The former government should have taken precautionary measures to deal with the heat wave as international organizations warned of a severe and prolonged heat wave in the region,” Sherry said.

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The minister said that South Asia and the world are facing a severe heat wave this year. “The temperature in the border areas of Pakistan and India is expected to rise up to 49 to 50 degrees Celsius,” she added. “Extreme heat waves are a sign of climate change and global warming. Pakistan has been facing an unexpected heat wave since March,” she said.

She added that temperatures in Pakistan are expected to rise by 6 to 8 degrees Celsius, which was more than usual this year. According to the Meteorological Department, this year was the hottest month since March 1961, she added. While discussing the impacts of global warming recorded this year, she said rainfall in March alone was 62% below normal. In 2018, Nawabshah became the hottest city in the world in April when the mercury topped 50 degrees Celsius, she pointed out. She urged the masses to take precautionary measures to avoid the extreme heat.

The minister added that the intense heat posed a serious threat to human health and agricultural production. On Tuesday, PMD said another heat wave is expected to hit cities and towns across the country this week, with daytime temperatures expected to be six to eight degrees Celsius above normal. Due to prolonged drought and increased heat intensity; aquifers, standing crops, vegetables and orchards are threatened by water shortages.

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According to the weather service, daytime temperatures are expected to gradually increase in most parts of the country in the coming days due to strong wind pressure. PMD has ordered farmers to take appropriate measures to irrigate crops according to weather conditions and the authorities are keen to protect the population from the heat wave.

Meanwhile, air quality in the federal capital on Thursday was recorded as healthy as hazardous air pollutants were well below allowable limits in the atmosphere due to reduced car traffic during Ramazan. The air quality data was collected by the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) which monitors the level of air pollutants for 24 hours based on three eight-hour intervals of data collection. data in different places. Pak-EPA data revealed that air quality throughout all three data monitoring intervals remained low as pollutants were well below allowable limits of the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS).

The 2.5 micron hazardous air pollutant particulate matter (PM2.5) which was a deadly air contaminant remained at 16.6 micrograms per cubic meter on average, which is below the NEQS of 35 micrograms per cubic meter and denotes healthy air quality. PM2.5 is generated by engine combustion, industrial emissions, burning garbage or flammable materials, and dust blown from fast-moving cars traveling on uncemented portions of roads.