Islamabad's vanishing forests.

Forests are incredibly important for our survival and well-being. They provide us with the air we breathe and the wood we use and offer habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans.

Additionally, forests play a crucial role in protecting watersheds, preventing soil erosion, and mitigating the effects of climate change. In fact, climate change is the biggest threat our country faces today, and even though Pakistan only contributes one per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is still considered the 5th most vulnerable country to its effects. Despite our dependence on forests, we are allowing them to disappear at an alarming rate.

In recent years, Pakistan has suffered from natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and cyclones. However, the monsoon season in 2022 surpassed all previous destruction records on every scale. Heavy rainfall led to severe floods, landslides, and urban flooding, displacing 33 million people and causing over 1,730 deaths.

The floods affected all the provinces, impacting about 15pc of the population. The damages were widespread, with houses, roads, bridges, and rail networks being washed away. The government estimated the total damage to be more than $30 billion.

As the temperature in Islamabad rises above 40AdegC in May and June, the incidents of fire in and around the city have significantly increased. The primary cause of these fires is the drought and high temperatures, harming trees and animals. Recently, there was a fire outbreak at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Sector H-12, Islamabad, which is a cause for serious concern.

These fires have adverse effects not only on the infrastructure but also on the socio-economic and environmental conditions of the region. It is crucial to address this issue to prevent further damage.

In recent years, many people have moved to cities in search of better living conditions, job opportunities, and access to education. Islamabad is no exception, attracting migrants from all over the country.

To accommodate the growing population, the city must build new infrastructure such as roads, schools, buildings, and housing societies. The city covers an area of 906 square kilometres and has experienced a 100pc increase in population over the last 20 years, making it difficult to monitor its resources and provide the necessary services to the public.

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