KARACHI: Rapid urbanization, over-population, industrial pollution and lack of storage facilities are aggravating freshwater availability in Pakistan. Mismanagement of rainwater mainly during the monsoon season along with other factors are also contributing to the water Scarcity This was stated by speakers during a media briefing workshop organized under WWF-Pakistan’s International Labour and Environmental Standards (ILES) Application in Pakistan’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) project held here at a local hotel on Wednesday.
Speakers suggested that Pakistan has agro-based economy so it’s important that integrated water resource management, rainwater harvesting, water recycling and reuse should be adopted to address the issue. They also shared that modern technologies should be promoted to tackle solid waste and wastewater in industries that pose a serious threat to the environment but the industry is lacking trained human resources to resolve technical issues.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Tahir Rasheed, Regional Head, Sindh and Balochistan, WWF-Pakistan said that according to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Pakistan is ranked third among countries facing severe water storage problems. He said that surface and groundwater resources are depleting at a fast pace due to multiple factors including climate change and pollution. To improve water storage, reduce waste water and enhance water productivity, WWF-Pakistan, with support of relevant stakeholders and local communities, is developing detailed water conservation plans. He also urged that freshwater wetlands should be restored, which can provide better livelihood opportunities to fishermen and farmer communities and will help revive fish species and ecosystems.
Sohail Ali Naqvi, Manager ILES project, WWF-Pakistan said that the leather and textile sectors are very resource intensive, and generate a significant amount of wastewater and solid waste pollution in the environment. He laid stress to improve management of freshwater to attain smart environmental management practices. He discussed that Pakistan is bearing the loss of 3 billion dollars every year for Non-Compliance International treaties.
The textile sector is the most important manufacturing sector of Pakistan with an average share of about 59 per cent in national exports, valued at USD 10,042 million during July 2018 to March 2019. The sector contributes nearly one-fourth of industrial value-added and provides employment to about 40 per cent of the industrial labour force.
The leather sector is the second largest export earning sector of Pakistan contributing 5 percent of GDP and 5.4 per cent to the overall export earnings of the country, contributing around USD 765 million a year (2018-19). This sector, considered to be the most significant, plays a critical role in revamping the economic spectrum of the country.
The International Labour and Environmental Standards (ILES) Application in Pakistan’s Small and Medium Enterprises project, is a European Union (EU) funded project implemented through the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and WWF-Pakistan. It is a six-year project which aims to support the economic integration of Pakistan into the global and regional economy by increasing exports and competitiveness through improved compliance with labour and environmental standards.