Environmental Issues in Balochistan
According to the World Health Organisation three million premature deaths worldwide occur annually due to environmental pollution. Pollution being a by-product of oil, gas and coal being used as the main sources of energy of global energy needs. Although playing a key role in the elevation of socio-economics in countries coupled with the improvement in quality of life worldwide, these energy sources have devastated environmental resources. Air pollution, water contamination, deforestation and soil erosion are some of the phenomena causing environmental degradation worldwide.
This is very apparent in Balochistan. The region is directly suffering from soil erosion, air pollution, water contamination, deforestation, rangeland depletion and destruction of juniper forests. These factors are not only causing irreparable damages to the environment in Balochistan with elements but has severely damaged the socio – economic situation.
Rural environmental problems in the province includes desertification and microbiological problem due to near absence of sewerage, sanitation and waste disposal. Open sewers are apparent in many settlements and together with dirty water used for drinking, is the reason for many diseases.
Balochistan is again experiencing a drought situation. Settlements are characterized by poor planning, contaminated water supplies, inefficient or non- existent sanitation and waste management services and air pollution. These are emerging as major issues as the population rapidly expands and urbanization accelerates. The renewable land resources include water, soil, forest, wildlife and range. Sustainable use of these resources is inevitable to protect environmental quality.
Livestock is contributing to almost 20 per cent of the provincial GDP. It is the primary sustainable sources of income for the majority of the population in the province. As often is the case, livestocks are first to perish in severe droughts harshly impacting the socio-economic situation.
The shortage of clean water for drinking and agriculture, degraded pastures and forests, has been the subject of concern for several decades.
Farming is being wiped out altogether. With little access to water and forgotten farming techniques due to years of droughts, the people are struggling with sustainable livelihoods. Balochistan is blessed with a huge province but arid lands are devastating the region.
Key stakeholders need to explore effective monitoring and enforcement measures to ensure good practices in the implementation of environmental laws and standards. Stronger emphasis on the Integration of environment into the policy-making process will be key to achieving the goals of sustainable development.