Climate Change Secretary, Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, said that awareness-raising at all levels is vital to coping with environmental degradation for achieving sustainable socio-economic development goals.


“Insane use of rapidly depleting natural resources is main cause of the environmental degradation, which leads to economic damages of over Rs365 billion annually.


However, creating mass awareness is inevitable to check bring about positive changes in the ways people use natural resources to fight environmental degradation,” he told a national seminar on ‘Environmental Education For Controlling Environmental Degradation’ organized by the Ministry in collaboration with Pakistan Institute for Environment-Development Action Research (PIEDAR) and the multinational oil giant – Chevron.


The event was held here at the Lok Virsa on Thursday and was attended by environmental experts, teachers, students, representatives of different government and non-governmental organisations and media.


He told the participants that environmental awareness campaigns are most successful when targeted to specific groups or populations like students and teachers.


The climate change secretary said, “Many people don’t bother to pay much heed to aggravating state of environmental problems. For, they don’t understand how the problem would affect their lives and their lifestyle.”


Showing people how much money they could save they spend on medical bills by drinking boiling water and checking its contamination, planting trees and by demonstrating solar panel has helped to “convert” people who normally wouldn’t have paid much attention to environmental problems,” he highlighted.


He also highlighted unprecedented significance of the role of teachers and students in overcoming the issue of environmental degradation and sustainable management of natural resources.


However, empowering them with knowledge about techniques for tackling environmental degradation at household levels can boost the efforts being taken by other segments of the society to speed up tackling of the environmental degradation, he added.

“Therefore, the challenge facing humanity is to sustain the process of poverty eradication and development while shifting gears so as to avert greater damage to our environment, including from climate change.


Developing countries like Pakistan must preserve development achievements while focusing more on sustainable development and shrinking environmental impacts.


Developing countries must continue to raise their people’s living standards and eradicate poverty while containing increases in their ecological footprints. Both must adapt to the impacts of the damage already done. This is a shared challenge with a goal of shared prosperity and sustainable development.


The secretary Syed Akif further said by working with the media, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions could help spread their message, either by holding press briefings, issuing printed press releases, or even setting up online databases that can be used as information centers. For, information centers would be effective tools to educate both the public and journalists about environmental concerns.


The PIEDAR Execuitive Director, Syed Qutub Ahmad said it was a matter of deep concern and shame that the present generation is leaving behind a huge challenge for the today’s children and new generations in shape of massive environmental pollution and human-caused global warming.


“Today the most of our waters are not clean, pure and drinkable, air is becoming glowingly polluted, huge amount of fertile land is fast becoming infertile and large tracts of forest lands are becoming deforested,” he highlighted and questioned the participants that, “what sort of the world we are leaving behind for our beautiful and innocent children when everything is badly contaminated.”


It is high time that all of us play part to address the environmental degradation, which has made human survival unsustainable, he urged.