Pakistan News

Capital goes dark to put spotlight on climate change

Capital goes dark to put spotlight on climate change

ISLAMABAD: Streets, avenues and public and private buildings went dark as the federal capital joined some 7,000 cities around the world in turning off its lights simultaneously to mark Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is celebrated every year on March 19, as a gesture to conserve energy and protect the planet.

Arranged by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), buildings across the country turned off their lights at 8:30pm local time, alongside 10,000 global landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Unnecessary lights were switched off at the National Assembly, in all provincial assemblies and in various other significant buildings from 8:30pm to 9:30pm, as a symbol of solidarity for action against climate change.

At the Serena Hotel, guests and personalities invited by WWF lit candles and counted down until the hallway chandeliers went dark to welcome Earth Hour.

The first Pakistani to conquer Mount Everest, Nazir Sabir, called for more action to protect Pakistan’s mountains, while TV personality Hareem Farooq commended the WWF’s efforts to raise awareness about energy conservation.

The candle-lighting event at Serena Hotel was attended by the first ever mayor of Islamabad, Honourable Sheikh Ansar Aziz, the Danish deputy head of mission Jakob Rogild Jakobsen, the European Union representative and various government officials.

Mr Jakobsen said: “In the last few weeks, three major events have happened. First, worldwide economy has grown without increases in emissions in the last two years. Secondly, the climate conference in Paris last year has paved a path for the future and thirdly, it is impressive how Pakistan is rapidly switching over to renewable energy.

“Pakistan has shown interest in engaging a Danish company to install the largest 1,000MW wind power plant in Asia to generate power for future needs. We must build upon all these developments.”

The following locations celebrated Earth Hour by switching off unnecessary light across the twin cities: the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Election Commission of Pakistan, Shah Faisal Mosque, National Monument, Pak-China Friendship Centre, Daman-i-Koh, Lake View Park, Jinnah Convention Centre, CDA buildings, the Cabinet block, Jinnah Avenue, Nazimuddin Road, 9th Avenue, 7th Avenue, D-Chowk, Constitution Avenue, Federal Directorate of Education, the Fauji Fertilizer Company building, Ufone Tower, ENERCON, Fazl-i-Haq Road, Islamabad Highway, National Defence University and over 100 business, including restaurants and hotels.

WWF Pakistan director general Hammad Naqi Khan said: “On this Earth Hour, by joining WWF, millions of people around the world have shown their commitment for the planet.”

“All of us should pledge to take action in our capacity as an individual, business and policy and decision-maker to reduce our footprint, save nature and protect the environment,” he added.

WWF said that, celebrating the 10th edition of its signature lights-out event in March 2016, the Earth Hour movement continues to harness the power of millions of supporters to shine a light on climate action and the power of the individual to fight climate change.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2016

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