Nisar A. Memon
Today – the 5th June is being observed as ‘Environment Day’ all over the world to create awareness and ensure actions are in place for the protection of the environment,” said Nisar A. Memon, former federal minister and senator, who recalled, ‘it started way back in 1972 by the United Nations. Each year there is a theme based on challenges we face. This year 2020 theme for the day is ‘Time for Nature’.” He opined that It is most appropriate since there is a great challenge to biodiversity.
Nisar A. Memon said, “Covid-19 brought all possible challenges to humans but the single most is the threat to life with hundreds of thousands already succumbed to this epidemic and yet it is not under human control. The lockdown has however resulted in lower pollution and reduced climate change adverse impact.”
Former senator urged, “it is time to mold our lives closer to nature by protecting, preserving and promoting healthy living. This can be achieved by focus on providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on Earth and human development.” He recalled that in Pakistan, over 60% of population lives in rural areas which are ignored for all these years. He recommended that the essential infrastructure for education, health and social delivery must assume priority in upcoming budget and all policies must be endorsed by people’s representatives in the assemblies and senate.
He urged, “to improve biodiversity and environment; we must reduce pollution, implement water and environment policies developed in the last 20 years by various governments, free mountains from human interventions, let rivers flow without creating obstacles in the river path, refrain from discharging chemicals in river and sea without first treating them of toxicity, reduce use of fertilizer by growing organic food, grow and not cut trees, provide alternate fuel to rural areas, use natural solar and wind power, protect marine life and coastal areas rich in fish for sustainability of life.”
He added that we as country are committed to implementing 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and many of them relate to environment but specifically SDG 13 relates to climate actions, SDG 14 about life below water, SDG 15 life on land and SDG 9 for innovation and infrastructure.
He recalled that the Article 31 and 32 of our Constitution protect right to life as a fundamental right. It encompasses, the protection and preservation of environment, ecological balance free from pollution of air and water and sanitation. The Supreme Court in one of its judgements has held that the right to clean environment is a fundamental right of all citizens of Pakistan covered by the “right to life” and the “right to dignity” under Article 9 and 14 of the Constitution.
He reminded that above all, the Quran guides us in Surah 31 all about the environment created for the benefit of mankind and commands us not to be wasteful or extravagant, not to disrupt the balance that exists in nature and not to change the creation of God. Water is a huge life-providing theme in the Quran. It enlightens us about how He creates life through water then sustains it by streams, the rains, rivers and oceans that are homes for so many creatures. We should also be guided by Surah 2:60, “Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.”
Nisar A. Memon concluded, “Let today be the day of true commitment to protect environment for the sake of our future generation and also follow the Constitution and Quran.”
–The writer is former, federal minister and senator.
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