Desertification is a phenomenon that ranks among the greatest environmental challenges (Google / The News Pakistan)

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Desertification: a global issue with serious implications

by Obaid Abrar Khan


The Environmental Watch Trust (EWT) observed World Day to Combat Desertification. This year’s theme was ‘Don’t let our future dry up’.

The EWT held a seminar in this connection which was presided over by Dr. Naeem Ghani, chairman of the Sultana Foundation, and the guest of honour was Shumaila Javed Bhatti, chairperson of the Environmental Watch Trust (EWT).

In her keynote address, Shumaila Javed Bhatti said that desertification is a global issue, with serious implications worldwide for biodiversity, eco-safety, poverty eradication, socio-economic stability and sustainable development. Dry lands are fragile. As they become degraded, the impact on people, livestock and environment can be devastating. Some 50 million people may be displaced within the next 10 years as a result of desertification. Desertification is a phenomenon that ranks among the greatest environmental challenges for our time. Shumaila Javed Bhatti disclosed that per capita water availability in Pakistan is only 1,000 cubic meters per person compared to 5,600 cubic meters which we had at the time of independence. Regarding this the World Economic Forum, in their Global Risk Report, suggests that the decreasing water supply is one of the top five risks that humanity will face over the next ten years. Agriculture accounts for 70% of water usage and following traditional irrigation method Pakistan is wasting two-thirds of the freshwater resources. And to further increase the problem no authority is currently working to preserve ground water and off-channel reservoirs could be built to help preserve flood water which could be used in the future.



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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.