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Pakistani documentary ‘Out of the Smog’ highlights the stark reality of climate change in the country

Pakistani documentary ‘Out of the Smog’ highlights the stark reality of climate change in the country

Farah Farooq
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Climate change, is a dilemma too real and too scary but still largely ignored, especially in our part of the world. In 2019, all everyone seemed to talk about was the impending climate change disaster; it ruled Twitter trends and filled many streets with protesting people all across the world, most who rallied behind Greta Thunberg.

But the world we live in now is dramatically different, with the coronavirus pandemic taking centre stage.

Pakistan, a country tied in economic strains and political agendas, doesn’t really care much about climate change but that is not to say that it isn’t impacted by the adverse effects of it. In the heart of Punjab, Lahore is a city that tops the world record of smog level, second only to Delhi. This happened back in November 2018, but it seemed like no one took notice. Pakistan’s appointed minister of climate change, Zartaj Gul, didn’t even acknowledge the high levels of smog as a threat and continued to blame India for it.

Environmental Lawyer, Rafay Alam

So, what chance does Pakistan have when even the government isn’t ready to acknowledge the threat of climate change?

The government might not consider high levels of smog or unnaturally hot summer days a threat, but people working on the ground level are aware of the reality. Students, activists, teachers and many other intellectuals took part in the Climate March that was spearheaded by environmental lawyer Rafay Alam and held last year. It may have not done much when one asks for empirical evidence but it did succeed in raising awareness. And at times, that’s the most one can hope to achieve.

Just like the Climate March, Naveen Rizvi and her team’s recent documentary on smog in Pakistan aims to raise awareness about this huge issue.

‘Out of the Smog: Pakistan’s Plea’ is a documentary that showcases the stark reality of the urgency needed in dealing with climate change on a policy level. The documentary features interviews with recognised environmental lawyers: Rafay Alam and Sara Hayat and Abid Omar, Founder of the Pakistan Air Quality Initiative. Naveen and her team shot the documentary in Pakistan during the course of last year and have been working on the post production remotely since the last five months.

Watch ‘Out of the Smog: Pakistan’s Plea’ here:

Naveen Rizvi is the woman behind this much needed documentary. She is
a Mathematics Curriculum Advisor responsible for creating resources for 50+ schools in the UK. She says the idea for this documentary came to her when she found close no information about such a big issue that impacts Pakistan on so many levels.

Naveen also runs her own blog which can be followed here.

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