Environmental Degradation, Diseases and Over-population: The Curses Of Unplanned Urbanization

Rapid and unplanned urbanization has atmospherically destroyed Pakistan – from adverse effects ranging from the change in climatic patterns to tuberculosis.

It only provides a snippet of the actual condition. Limited opportunities in villages and the large deficit that exists are encouraging the large influx of people to the cities on regular basis. Exploration of better opportunities is leading to restriction of opportunities when it comes to sustainability and survival.

Lahore verifies the above statements. The unplanned urbanization and overpopulation are not only leading to social problems but disruption of the ecosystem as well. The population in the extremely congested provincial capital has increased up to 10 million. The stats show a low increase in population from the year 1901 to 1921. Since then, annual growth rate became steady comparatively and after independence, it skyrocketed at 2.38. It further paced during 1951-1961 and 1961-1972 and reached 4.32 per cent.

Geologist Dr Safdar Ali Shirazi increase can be attributed to a substantial rural to urban migration which took place during that period.

“This large-scale increase in the population and resultant development in the residential or infrastructural sectors caused an increased pressure on urban vegetation and has also disturbed the ecosystem of the city” – the geologist said.

Another expert Uzma Khan says that rapid construction is the leading cause of environmental challenge and increase in diseases. She said that it has also impacted biodiversity that can be well-reflected by a decrease in fruit trees of mango, guava, parakeets and jaman which used to be very common in the past.

Though our concept of progress is only restricted to building metros, little to no attention is being given to the deteriorating green belts that are being chopped off without any sustainable long-term approach. Despite the situation, no significant plantation drive or awareness campaign has been arranged to educate people.

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