With sprawling urban centers across the country, the greenery is quickly disappearing. The landscape that once thrived with flora and fauna, is now a concert jungle. The picture could be even more depressing in the future if we fail to control unbridled urbanization – or do something to preserve some greenery in urban areas. It is in this context that the Prime Minister called on the government of Punjab to take legal action against the elements involved in the encroachment and construction of illegal housing companies. But the challenge is to have a consonance between the actions and the words. Environmentalists have expressed serious concerns about recent such projects that could harm the environment. Although the rapid increase in population makes it difficult to control urbanization, we can at least use environmentally friendly materials, as the PM has requested from the authorities responsible for such projects.
Blue roads and energy-efficient building materials are new innovations that make urban centers more environmentally friendly. Some advanced countries in the world have turned their stretches of busy roads to bright blue to cool the asphalt surface and reduce the temperature of surrounding areas. Likewise, energy efficiency can also play an important role in new urbanization by using less energy to provide the same product or services, such as heating, lighting and transportation. Then it is necessary to introduce renewable energy sources in urban centers which can increase energy efficiency which is a strong pillar of sustainable development in today’s world. Pakistani urban areas are in desperate need of energy efficiency by using abundant and cheap renewable resources in urban areas to keep them green. A safe and reliable reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is vital for green urbanization.
The climate crisis that Pakistan and other countries are facing is not a minor problem, nor is it easy to resolve. Energy efficiency experts around the world have identified several areas where we can achieve green urbanization by saving energy. They include buildings and homes, businesses and industries, commerce and transportation, all of which can make substantial contributions by recycling for green urbanization. Smart trees are another innovation that contributes to green urbanization. Green spaces in cities offer a low-tech way to help address the growing problem of air pollution. The old methods were expensive to maintain and take up space. Now, a single tree that has the environmental benefits of a small forest has the potential to be a stand-alone vertical unit covered in moss and lichens that absorb particles, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone. If the government manages to follow the prime minister’s instructions in introducing a green urbanization model in Lahore, other cities across the country could replicate it to reduce pollution as well. All in all, there is an urgent need to reduce the negative impact of pollution across the country, especially in urban areas.