The SDGs Academy recently acknowledged the outstanding contributions of young individuals committed to combatting climate change. These creative and innovative minds received accolades at the National Youth Policy Dialogue, an event organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, COMSATS University, and the International Human Rights Commission.
Climate change and extreme weather events are posing global threats to humanity. Pakistan, in particular, has experienced devastating floods and fatal heatwaves in recent years, underscoring the urgency of addressing climate-related issues.
To address this pressing challenge, both the government and private sector, in collaboration with non-profit organizations, are actively engaged in climate mitigation efforts.
The National Youth Policy Dialogue is a significant initiative driven by the private sector and NGOs dedicated to mitigating environmental and climate impacts.
This platform brought together students from schools and colleges across Pakistan and Gilgit Baltistan, inspiring them to develop innovative and actionable solutions to foster a greener and cleaner country.
Among the standout participants was Aneeqa Bashir, recognized for her remarkable work in preserving Pakistan’s green heritage. She embarked on a mission to document and protect 50 and 100 – year-old trees by marking them as national green heritage. Her commitment extends to managing websites like Agreenerpakistan.org and projectbanyantrees.com, aimed at raising awareness about preserving green heritage.
In her upcoming project, Aneeqa is collaborating with a local bank to address water waste management and combat water pollution, further demonstrating her dedication to environmental sustainability.
The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) report, released by an agency affiliated with the University of Chicago, alarmingly states that 98% of Pakistanis are breathing air laden with dangerous particulate pollution. This pollution ranks as the second leading cause of death in the country, following heart disease. The report also highlights the association between particulate pollution and throat and lung cancer.
Experts emphasize the immediate need for global action against climate change. Factors such as outdated transportation systems, industrial and agricultural waste emissions, rampant construction on fertile lands, and deforestation for hospitality and residential projects are wreaking havoc on the environment.
In Pakistan, where healthcare resources are limited, addressing the growing health concerns related to climate change and environmental pollution has become increasingly challenging. However, the recognition and support for young environmental activists like Aneeqa Bashir signal a hopeful path forward in the battle against climate change and its detrimental effects on health and the environment.