WWF-Pakistan held a ‘run and clean up’ event on Sunday at Jallo Forest Park, Lahore in collaboration with the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Lahore as part of the global World River Run campaign to advance global conversations about the world’s water crisis.
The event that was themed ‘Our Rivers Always Run For Us, It’s Time We Ran For Them’ had more than 100 participant runners from different spheres of life. The run was dedicated to the River Indus River and the participants also helped to clean the park.
A speaker at the event highlighted that “Pakistan is seriously impacted by heat waves, fluctuating temperatures, urban flooding, and biodiversity loss, coupled with pollution and freshwater scarcity challenges. We need to adopt sustainable ways of living and take transformative actions to protect and conserve the earth’s fast depleting resources”.
Other speakers stressed that freshwater management and conservation is a serious issue in Pakistan, for which joint action should be taken by relevant government departments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and local communities.
They also warned that climate change and unsustainable infrastructure development are aggravating freshwater availability in the country.
Speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner of Lahore, Captain (R.) Muhammad Usman, revealed that “close to 600 tube wells supply water to Lahore, and every hour, approximately 40 million gallons of water is consumed. This data does not match our per capita consumption, which means a lot of this water is wasted”.
“We are cognizant of these issues and urge the public to make smarter choices and conserve this precious resource,” he said.
Director-General, PHA Lahore, Dr. Umar Jahangir, remarked, “We are very delighted to hold this awareness event in partnership with WWF-Pakistan. The Indus holds a lot of importance for Pakistan and we hope to continue being a voice for it. I am also in talks with WWF regarding plantation drives”.
He also urged the public to make lifestyle choices that will help to conserve water.
Director General WWF-Pakistan, Hammad Naqi Khan, said that the Indus is Pakistan’s lifeline. It supports nearly 300 million people and provides the water that Pakistan needs to survive – for agriculture, energy production, industrial use, and human consumption, besides supporting diverse aquatic ecosystems.
However, the impacts of climate change, rising temperatures, changes in weather patterns, reduced flows, habitat destruction, and pollution are all severely degrading the health of this crucial river system.
Khan added that robust water conservation strategies and nature-based solutions are necessary to ensure the free flow of rivers and to protect precious water bodies.
Amal for Life, a grassroots civil society organization contributing to the sustainable development of Pakistan, also facilitated the clean-up activities during and after the event.