Pakistan - Environment



Relatively high population growth contributed to the depletion of forestland from 9.8% of Pakistan's total area in 1947 to 4.5% by 1986, despite the forest conservation measures mandated by the Forest Act of 1927. Pakistan lost 14.5% of its remaining forest and woodland between 1983 and 1993. Deforestation has contributed to increased soil erosion, declining soil fertility, and severe flooding.

Primary responsibility for environmental matters belongs to the Environmental and Urban Affairs Division of the Ministry for Housing and Works. Laws to set air and water quality standards and regulate coastal zones to prevent pollution were under consideration in the 1980s. In the mid-1990s, Pakistan was among the 50 nations with the world's highest levels of industrial carbon dioxide emissions, which totaled 71.9 million metric tons per year, a per capita level of 0.59 metric tons per year. The nation's water supply is at risk due to untreated sewage along with agricultural and industrial pollutants. Only 85% of rural dwellers have pure drinking water. It is estimated that about 80% of the nation's diseases are related to impure water.

In 2001, 13 mammal species were endangered, as were 25 bird species and 5 plant species. Endangered species include the Indus dolphin, Baluchistan bear, tiger, Pakistan sand cat, snow leopard, Indian wild ass, green sea turtle, olive ridley turtle, gavial, Central Asian cobra, Kabul markhor, chi pheasant, western tragopan, great Indian bustard, and Siberian white crane. Hunting or capturing wild animals was banned in 1981.

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