How Important Is Water For Thar?

Thar, the largest desert of Pakistan, is situated in the southeast and forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. It’s considered the world’s 9th largest hot subtropical desert and houses some 1.6 million people. Where precipitation is limited to 100 to 500mm per year, it’s hard to imagine that livestock and agriculture is the primary source of income for the locals. It’s easy to comprehend why drought and famine are frequent occurrences in the region. Time and again, cattle and humans have to make do with a shortage of food and water. Death habitually haunts the region, taking the lives of many each year. According to Dawn drought killed over 500 children in Thar in 2018.

According to WHO, GAM (Global Acute Malnutrition) rate of more than 15% among children if considered an emergency. As of 2011, GAM in Thar was estimated to be 22.7% while chronic malnutrition was as high as 45.9%. It’s easy to pinpoint the source of these problems – extreme water shortage. Governments have announced schemes to improve water availability for the people of Thar several times, but the country has yet to see a practical project put into action in the dry region. In 2015, the Sindh government announced a project under which 700 Reverse Osmosis water purification plantswere to be installed in Thar, out of which only 400 plants are put in place as of yet. Out of those 400 that exist, less than 30% are functional.

 

 

While the Rajasthani side of the Thar desert, located in India, is provided with water by the Indira Gandhi Canal, Pakistan’s side is also deprived of canal water. The Sindh government is planning to provide water to the Tharis through the Makhi-Farash canal, but this plan, too, has yet to materialize. In its current condition, Thar is nearly uninhabitable by humans and animals alike.

How, then, do the Tharis survive, or a percentage of them at least? Char Nore village, in Thar, has 4 to 5 wells for 200 householdsThe villagers spend 4 to 5 hours to fetch around 12 liters of water. Of course, there are also limitations on the amount of water a family can have since several families share each well. Water is more precious than gold for the villagers. It’s no wonder that they keep their water tanks padlocked to prevent water theft!

While many of us take this resource for granted, wasting liters of water while brushing teeth, there are those too who travel miles only to stand in an endless queue before they can carry water back for the family – and that too on their heads! Help Tayaba make life easier in the driest parts of the country. Whether it’s humans or animals, every living soul deserves a decent supply of clean, fresh water to live a healthy life. There is no life without water – it’s as simple as that. It’s about time that we realize that while we waste water carelessly, there are regions where people are dying for the resource – quite literally.

Written by: Maryam Ahmad

Charity organization

New York, the city of lights – The name undoubtedly holds its weight, which is why it is to no surprise that when one thinks of New York, they immediately think of the hustling bustling city. It is a city filled with opportunities for people from all walks of life, but behind the glamour of what New York has to offer, it also carries its fair share of problems. These range from a variety of injustices from gender inequality, to food scarcity, to homelessness and many more. New York is the central hub for all things has also found a way to insert itself as the city known for the services it offers for both its residents and residents across the globe. This is through an extensive list of non-profit charity organizations in New York.

Charity: Water
This is a charity organization in New York which looks to provide safe and clean drinking water to communities in over 29 countries, funding over 57000 water projects. The belief is that access to clean water breaks barriers and opens the path for many more opportunities. By having clean access to water, one is able not only to ensure their own and others wellness and health, but they are also able to allocate more time towards learning and education. This has proven to be very empowering, especially for women, as gives the confidence and push to venture into other aspects of life such as starting businesses. Another charity with similar aspirations is Tayaba Organisation.

TayabaOrganisationis based in Lahore, Pakistan and has stepped up to tackle the water scarcity problem which affects more than half of the country’s population with their revolutionary innovation known as H2O wheels. H2O wheels are an innovation made to reduce the burden placed on individuals, more so upon women, to obtain water. They have successfully distributed over 6500 of this product to those in need and have seen the results of it firsthand. Not only are communities finding it easier to obtain water, but communities are also changing their outlook on the role a woman plays in the household and giving them the respect they deserve. Both Charity: Water being a charity organization in New York and TayabaOrganisation being one based in Pakistan are paving the path for future generations to lead the way.

NOW-nyc
Around since 50 years, this is a charity organization in New York which has been helping to amplify the voices of the women living on the northeast coast of America and get them the rights they deserve. Their main mode of delivery for their voices remains the classic act of activism on the busy streets, be it rain or shine. This charity organization in New York strongly believes in the opportunity for equal opportunity for women and men and that this can only be done by supporting women to get into seats of power, while also going out to demand justice. Their actions have led to a ripple effect and inspired many more to join their cause – especially after the election of Donald Trump as president. Their activism has led to major breakthroughs in laws and policies regarding the rights of the residents of New York and will continue to do so in the future.

As mentioned previously, New York, despite being a land of opportunities can have its fair share of problems. This has caused a divide in the state of New York, while some are luxuriously living their best life, others are lucky to receive a single meal for the day. This stark contrast in the way of life provides an insight into how one area can house two different environments. If one knows anything about the way America works is that where you live has a big impact on your future. From the school you go to the job one will have is all heavily influenced by the area an individual is brought up in. This leads to a never-ending cycle of poverty which follows one through generations.

To help combat this cycle, Children’s Aidis one of the charity organizations in New York that has made it their mission to provide equal opportunities and access needed for the children of this and coming generations to succeed. Another among the list of charity organizations in New York that look to help the same problem of the wealth disparity in New York is CityMeals-on-Wheels. This charity organization in New York has provided over 2 million meals to over 18000 people in the city of New York. They understand that food is a basic need for everyone and one that should be met which why they provide meals on the weekends, holidays and in emergency situations. In addition to providing food, this charity also looks to go above and beyond by being the source of compassion for those who have no one else to turn to.

Amnesty International USA, is another charity organization in New York which should be highly commended for its continued efforts in protecting people’s human rights. It focuses on demanding the release of innocently convicted individuals, demanding action against laws thattarget minorities, addressing gun violence, and climate justice among others. The need for their work is heightened in light of the recent pandemic as individuals are more vulnerable than ever.

Another charity organization in New York which is infamous simply by its name is the Michael J. Fox  Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease. After binge-watching all the back to the future movies, one searches up the cast as is customary and comes across the unfortunate diagnosis of Michael J. Fox. But upon further searching one also eventually comes across his foundation which has become a beacon of hope for not only Michael J. Fox but also many others suffering from Parkinson’s. The organization serves as a catalyst for funding research into ultimately the cure but also in generally improved therapies for the over 6 million across the globe living with Parkinson’s.

Overall, New York still remains true to its name by being the land of opportunities as is evident by the exhaustive list of charities it has which provides relief to those in need. While by no means perfect it is a start into having equity and equality for all the residents in not only New York but across the globe.

Acid Rain and Pollution

Acid Rain and Pollution

Saying sulphates do not cause acid rain is the same as saying that smoking does not cause lung cancer. When our parents and grandparents were children, they never heard of ozone depletion, smog, greenhouse gases or acid rain. Acid rain is the result of a chemical reaction, which begins when compounds like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released into the air. These substances are able to rise very high into the atmosphere, which is where they mix and react with oxygen, water and other chemicals to form multiple acid pollutants known as acid rain. 

Human activities are the main culprit behind acid rain. Since the last few decades, human activities have resulted in the release of many chemicals into the air, which is why the composition of gases in the atmosphere has changed. Majority of the sulphur dioxide is released by power plants, whereas most of the nitrogen oxides are released after the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, in order to produce electricity. Moreover, the exhaustion from transport vehicles like cars, trucks and buses release nitrogen oxides, which is how sulphur dioxide is released into the air. Hence, acid rain is caused by these pollutants. 

Nature is highly dependent on balance, and even though acid rain is naturally acidic, human activities have made its prevalence even worse. The chemicals released from normal precipitation neutralise the acidic content, but when the precipitation becomes too acidic, neutralisation of such materials is impossible.  

The effects of acid rain are most clearly seen in aquatic environments considering crops, trees, rivers, lakes and animals are severely damaged. Since everything in an ecosystem is connected, damage to one species of plants and animals, the soil or water, damages everything else. Looking at the human damage, walking in acid rain or even swimming in a lake that has been affected by acid rain, is more dangerous than taking a stroll in normal rain or swimming in a non-acidic lake. Other harmful effects include a high risk of developing heart disease, asthma for people with breathing difficulties and poor lung function.

By: Maria Mushtaq

 

Beach Pollution

About 71% of the surface of the earth is surrounded with water. Around 90% of the life on earth is due to water.   However, its importance is not realized by most of the people around. 60% of the oxygen we breathe is generated by oceanic flora. Hence, it is really important to keep these oceans hygienic. Almost around 60% of the CO2 (carbon dioxide) is absorbed by these oceans as well. Massive amount of resources such as precious metals, minerals, salts, oil, gas are drawn out of the seas for economic purposes. UNESCO supported the fact that oceans through fishing/seafood industry supports the livelihood of 820 m people. Pakistan’s polluted coast lines are demonstrating the devastating consequences of humanly activities. Clifton beach in karachi is one of the highly polluted beaches in Pakistan. A study carried out by WWF–Pakistan revealed that 50% of the plastic pollution in and around the coastal areas of Karachi is beach trash. A 2016 study conducted by the NIO in Karachi, showed presence of pathogenic bacteria at nine sites along the coast. The study based on the analysis of sediments, water, flora and fauna found the Korangi creek station most polluted with coliform and other pathogenic bacteria. It also specifically mentions beach spots, where coastal water was found to be contaminated with domestic and industrial effluent. And by 2020, the situation has gotten worse Karachi produces around 500 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater. Around one fifth of water comes from these industries, while the rest is the domestic or municipal sewerage. Almost the entire sewerage and industrial waste water goes into sea without treatment, which has brought a natural disaster, as we are losing our fish catch and also it is affecting marine life. We should put efforts on our individual levels to clean the environment of beaches. As in our religion, cleanliness is half of faith. We must support cleanliness initiatives. We must stop excess plastic throwing so the marine life can be saved. We must urge everyone around to realize the strategic, economic, importance of these waters and raise awareness regarding the health, economic implications of polluted oceans/ beaches in Pakistan.

 

Written By: Mahnoor Ashraf

Mangroves and their Importance

If there are no mangroves, then the sea will have no meaning. It’s like a tree with no roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea! Mangrove trees are salt tolerant and have an appearance of a bush. They strengthen in zones of tropical and subtropical localities. There are more than 15 million mangrove timber plantations around the world. Mangroves are said to have immense economic and ecological importance. Pakistani mangroves are located mainly along the delta of the Indus River. Some of the main mangrove forests are found on the coastline of the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan.


There are hundreds and thousands of people that depend on the mangrove natural environment for living. Since the past few centuries, mangrove trees have been of use for humans for getting fuel, timber, fodder for animals. Unfortunately, since the last five decades, the mangrove environment in Pakistan has been the victim of urbanization, and over exploitation and as a result, is fading very quickly. The amount with which it is being destroyed is discrepant with its actual value. Mangroves hold immense biological diversity. They are a source of food, nesting and nursery areas for most animals. These animals include more than 200 species of fish, 20 species of the reptile and amphibian family, more than 150 bird species and 15 mammal species. If mangroves are removed, we will find most of these species to become extinct since their source of survival has been destroyed. In turn, humans will also be affected indirectly as mangroves are also our source of food and water. One of the major roles of mangroves also lies role in areas that are prone to tsunamis. Mangrove forests lower the devastating impact tsunamis can have on coastal areas. They do so by absorbing some of the waves’ energy. As a result, the damage to properties in these areas is quite low.


When we destroy mangroves, we not only destroy the species along with their natural habitat, we destroy the complementary service that mangroves provide us with in difficult situations. With mangroves being destroyed, there will be a higher rate of floods and problems in water quality. Thus, the need to conserve mangroves arises. In order to prevent the destruction of mangroves, we need to consider certain steps such as afforestation, monitoring on a regular basis, soil conservation and legislation with laws and policies. Also, schools should be educating their students regarding mangroves and their importance as it is always better to look deep in to nature in order to understand everything better.

Written by: Maria A Mushtaq