Imagine for a moment, how dark and gloomy this world would be without deep blue oceans that hold a realm of wonders in their vast bounds, the tall green trees that embellish the land, the animals and birds that add color to its canvas and the flowers that adorn it with its enchanting fragrance!
Unfortunately, we seem to be headed in that direction as the planet is continuously changing because of detrimental human activities. There is no denying to the fact that overpopulation and uncontrolled industrial activity are the prime factors contributing to it. They have an irreversible impact on the environment which leads to climate change, soil degradation, global warming, and various forms of pollution. Among all these, soil degradation is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately. As soil is the key to life, poisoned soil means poisoned living, and this is what the current picture appears to be.
Healthy soil is essential for plant growth, food and nutrition and landscape that is more resilient to droughts and floods. It regulates the Earth’s climate, biodiversity and stores more carbon than all forests combined. Soil may seem to most people as something not very significant but if reflected, would realize that this brown matter beneath our feet is in a sense giving way to all life on land. Degradation of soil, hence, can adversely affect all beings on earth.
The industrial breakthrough in both developed and developing countries is a major factor contributing to soil degradation. These industries discharge their wastes directly on the land and in water bodies, thus contaminating them.
By Fatima Arif
Sabiha Zaman works as a field assistant in the Nathiagali office of WWF-Pakistan. She joined the organization in 1997 and was the first women from her generation who came out to work. Her commitment to nature conservation enabled her to receive the Falcon Foundation Award for Conservation in 2000. Yesterday, on the 70th Independence Day of Pakistan, she received an award for her contributions towards the cause of climate change by Pakistan Women Festival.
In her own words, when she was a young girl women were not allowed to get out of their homes in order to peruse professional careers or education for that matter. This was the reason that she did her Matriculation as a private candidate and didn’t study any further. However, she is fluent is all the scientific names of plant species of Ayubia National Park.
“At that time education for girls was considered a taboo.”
Copy rights WWF-Pakistan
Despite all the restrictions, it was her passion to work. As luck would have it an opportunity presented itself in the form of a project focused on the Ayubia National Park by WWF-Pakistan. For this a local woman was needed. Mr. Arshad in the Peshawar Office referred Sabiha to the team and she was selected.
By Hebah Essa
In the next one hour that I would be writing this piece of blog; 11,000 sharks around the world would fall prey to humans. (Global catches, exploitation rates, and rebuilding options for sharks, 2013) The shark population along the coast of Sindh and Balochistan face increasing risks every day with Pakistan, being the eighth highest exporter of shark fins in the world. (Dawn, 2016) It is true that a fisherman, who spends days out in the sea hoping to be able to catch enough fish to sustain himself and his family throughout the year, would jump to the idea of catching a shark because of its economic value.
Sharks and rays are increasingly demanded all across the world for their fins and gill plates. In fact; their economic value has increased in the recent past due to the rising demand for shark meat. In the Pakistani market, shark meat sells for about 2.5 to 3 US dollars per kilogram while commercially priced fisheries, such as Tuna, sell for about a dollar or a dollar and a half per kilogram. These aspects make sharks a very attractive hunt.
Copy rights WWF
However, these sharks are endangered species and if they are hunted at the same speed that they are today; the next generation would be alien to their existence. In fact, we have successfully managed to destroy most of the marine habitat and are, today, left with less than one third of the marine species that existed two decades ago. According to the WWF living planet report 2016, Sharks, Rays and Skates are threatened with extinction due to over fishing. (WWF Living Planet Report, 2016)
by Fatima Arif
Abdul Ghaffar is currently Incharge Vulture Conservation Centre at WWF-Pakistan’s Changa Manga aviary. After completing his BCom degree from Punjab University, he joined team panda on 5 June 2014. Continue reading