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Khwaja M.A.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Nawaz S.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Ali S.W.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI
Reviews on Environmental Health | Year: 2016

During the past two decades, mercury has come under increasing scrutiny with regard to its safety both in the general population and in occupationally exposed groups. It's a growing issue of global concern because of its adverse environmental and health impacts. Very few investigations on mercury amalgam use in the dentistry sector have been carried out in South Asia and there is little data reported on mercury contamination of indoor/outdoor air at dental sites. According to an earlier SDPI study, reported in 2013, alarmingly high mercury levels were observed in air (indoor as well as outdoor) at 11 of the 34 visited dental sites (17 dental teaching institutions, 7 general hospitals & 10 dental clinics) in five main cities of Pakistan. 88% of the sites indicated indoor mercury levels in air above the USA EPA reference level of 300 ng/m3. According to our study, carried out at 38 dental teaching institutions in 12 main cities (in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces) of Pakistan, respondents were of the opinion that the currently offered BDS curriculum does not effectively guide outgoing dental professionals and does not provide them adequate knowledge and training about mercury/mercury amalgam and other mercury related human health and mercury waste issues. 90% of respondents supported the review and revision of the present dental curriculum offered at dental teaching institutions in the country, at the earliest. A study has also been conducted to assess the status of mercury amalgam use in private dental clinics in Gilgit, Hunza, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. More than 90 private dental clinics were visited and dental professionals/private clinics in-charge were interviewed during June-July, 2015. The focus areas of the study were Hg amalgam toxicity, its waste management practices and safety measures practiced among the dental practitioners. In the light of the findings described and discussed in this brief report, to safeguard public health and for the protection of environment, it is strongly recommended that since mercury amalgam use cannot be banned immediately in the country, its use may be regularized and allowed subject to use of "Amalgam Separators," "Capsulated Mercury" and "Mechanized Mixing," use of mercury amalgam be banned for children (below 12 years age) and pregnant women. The curriculum currently being taught at medical and dental colleges in the country be reviewed and revised, to ensure adequate training towards minimizing mercury exposure.

Younas A.,University of Peshawar | Hilber I.,ART Agroscope Reckenholz Tänikon | ur Rehman S.,University of Peshawar | Khwaja M.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Bucheli T.D.,ART Agroscope Reckenholz Tänikon
Environmental Science and Pollution Research | Year: 2013

A factory in Amman Garh near Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, produced dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) from 1963-1994. Consequently, earlier papers reported a soil contamination in the per mille range inside the former factory wall (88 m × 106 m) and up to 10 mg/kg of DDT in the surroundings in 2005-2007. The site within the factory wall was remonitored systematically in 2011 to complement the earlier data as a prerequisite for remediation, to put them in exposure context in a population developing area, and to suggest and evaluate the optimal remediation technique for the site. The contamination was drastically higher than the earlier published data, and the sum of DDT and its metabolites (ΣDDT) was up to 65 % in the soil. Grasses, shrubs, and trees growing in this severely contaminated site had 50-450 mg/kgdw of ΣDDT. Thus, people living nearby and husbandry as well as wild animals are heavily exposed to DDT. The semiarid climate favors wind drift and deposition of the pollutant. Additionally, DDT from products of herbivore animals feeding on the contaminated plants will enter the food web. To overcome the exposure and distribution of the DDT, the site within the factory wall was capped with 1. 5 m of soil. This remediation technique represents the easiest and least expensive solution. Nevertheless, DDT can still evaporate or leach, and groundwater can rise in this flood-prone area and thereby become contaminated, especially because a binding layer is missing. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Ali S.,Bocconi University | Ali S.,Quaid-i-Azam University | Aslam M.,Quaid-i-Azam University | Ali M.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI
International Journal of Systems Science | Year: 2014

The development of flexible parametric classes of probability models in Bayesian analysis is a very popular approach. This study is designed for heterogeneous population for a two-component mixture of the Laplace probability distribution. When a process initially starts, the researcher expects that the failure components will be very high but after some improvement/inspection it is assumed that the failure components will decrease sufficiently. That is why in such situation the Laplace model is more suitable as compared to the normal distribution due to its fatter tails behaviour. We considered the derivation of the posterior distribution for censored data assuming different conjugate informative priors. Various kinds of loss functions are used to derive these Bayes estimators and their posterior risks. A method of elicitation of hyperparameter is discussed based on a prior predictive approach. The results are also compared with the non-informative priors. To examine the performance of these estimators we have evaluated their properties for different sample sizes, censoring rates and proportions of the component of the mixture through the simulation study. To highlight the practical significance we have included an illustrative application example based on real-life mixture data. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Gioli G.,University of Hamburg | Khan T.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Bisht S.,Khan Research Laboratories | Scheffran J.,University of Hamburg
Mountain Research and Development | Year: 2014

Natural resource-dependent isolated mountain communities are highly vulnerable to climatic and environmental stresses, and migration is often the most important livelihood diversification strategy for insuring a household against shocks. In this paper, we present some key results from a study conducted in the West Karakoram region of Pakistan to assess the influence of environmental shocks on migration and the effect of remittances on the adaptive capacity of recipient households and on gender relations. Primary data were collected at community and household level through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and quantitative questionnaires covering 210 households in 6 villages of the West Karakoram. Our findings suggest that migration is adopted as a core response to environmental pressure, both as an ex ante form of household risk mitigation against decreased and uncertain agricultural production, and as an ex post coping mechanism in the wake of environmental shocks. Gender structures migration; only men participate in circular labor migration to urban areas, while women are left behind to take care of the agricultural work and the household. Despite women's increased role in farming activities, no significant changes were noted in the decision-making power of women as a result of male outmigration. Gender positive transformative processes are more likely to be intergenerational and driven by increased access to education for girls. © 2014 by the authors.

Ali S.,Bocconi University | Aslam M.,Quaid-i-Azam University | Kundu D.,Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur | Kazmi S.M.A.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI
Journal of the Chinese Institute of Industrial Engineers | Year: 2012

Constructing a exible parametric classes of probability distributions is most popular approach in Bayesian analysis for the last few decades. This study is planned in the same direction for two components mixture of generalized exponential (GE) probability distribution by considering heterogeneous population from industry. We have considered censored sample environment due to its popularity in reliability theory. In addition, we have worked out expressions for the maximum likelihood estimates along with their variances and constructed components of the information matrix. To examine the performance of these estimators, we have evaluated their properties for different sample sizes, censoring rates, proportions of the component of mixture, and a variety of loss functions (LFs). The Bayes estimates are evaluated under squared error, entropy, squared logarithmic, and precautionary LFs. Hazard rate of GE distribution graphically and numerically compared with mixture of other life-time distributions. To highlight the practical significance, we have included an illustrative application example based on a real-life data. © 2012 Chinese Institute of Industrial Engineers.

Gioli G.,University of Hamburg | Gioli G.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Khan T.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Scheffran J.,University of Hamburg
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2014

In this paper, we investigate how mountain communities perceive and adapt to climatic and environmental change. Primary data were collected at community and household level through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and quantitative questionnaires covering 210 households in six villages of the West Karakoram (Hundur and Darkut in the Yasin Valley; Hussainabad, Altit, Gulmit, and Shiskat in the Hunza valley of Gilgit-Baltistan). The relevance of the area with respect to our scopes is manifold. First, this is one of the most extreme and remote mountainous areas of the world, characterized by complex and fragile institutional and social fabrics. Second, this region is one of the focal points of research for the hydro-meteo-climatological scientific community, because of its relevance in terms of storage and variability of water resources for the whole Indus basin, and for the presence of conflicting signals of climate change with respect to the neighboring regions. Third, the extreme hardships due to a changing environment, as well as to the volatility of the social and economic conditions are putting great stress on the local population. As isolating climate change as a single driver is often not possible, community perceptions of change are analyzed in the livelihood context and confronted with multi-drivers scenarios affecting the lives of mountain people. We compare the collected perceptions with the available hydro-climatological data, trying to answer some key questions such as: how are communities perceiving, coping with, and adapting to climatic and environmental change? Which are the most resorted adaptation strategies? How is their perception of change influencing the decision to undertake certain adaptive measures? © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Khwaja M.A.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Abbasi M.S.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI
Reviews on Environmental Health | Year: 2014

Mercury (Hg), also known as quick silver, is an essential constituent of dental amalgam. It is a toxic substance of global concern. Children are more at risk from mercury poisoning which affects their neurological development and brain. In the past, a number of studies at dental sites in many countries have been carried out and reported. The present report briefly describes and discusses our recent investigations carried out at 34 dental sites (teaching institutions, hospitals and private clinics) in Pakistan. It is evident from the data that at many sites the indoor mercury vapor levels exceed far above the permissible limit recommended for safe physical and mental health. At these sites, public in general and the medical, paramedical staff and vulnerable population in particular, are at most serious risk to health resulting from exposure to toxic and hazardous mercury. To minimize such risk, some of the recommendations are, best in-house environmental practices for occupational health and safety, mercury contaminated waste reduction at source, mercury specific legislation and ratification of Minamata convention on mercury by Pakistan and other world governments at the earliest time possible.

Shahbaz B.,University of Agriculture at Faisalabad | Ali T.,University of Agriculture at Faisalabad | Suleri A.Q.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI
Forest Policy and Economics | Year: 2011

Conservation and development projects are key instruments of international development agencies for natural resource conservation and rural development. However, despite some success stories, conservation of natural resources (particularly forests) in conjunction with socio-economic development - which is the precondition for sustainable development - remained a challenge in most of the developing countries. In Pakistan, too, natural forests in the Northwestern highlands continue to be depleted in spite of numerous interventions, by the international donors, to conserve the remaining forests. This paper uses a sustainable development perspective, and attempts to study the quest by the forest conservation and development interventions - initiated by the overseas development aid - regarding operationalisation of sustainable development as conceived by the projects' implementing agencies and thereby comparing it with local implementation context in terms of perceived impact/usefulness, and participation of stakeholders in the projects. This paper argues that, without considering socio-economic realities at micro (village) level, one cannot envisage the success of conservation and development interventions by considering only structural and meso (national/regional) levels. Forestry should be seen in a multi-stakeholder scenario where various actors have different claims and entitlements over forest resources. Major challenge for international development donors is to ensure a balance of power between stakeholders. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Salik K.M.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Hashmi M.Z.-U.,Impact Global Resources | Ishfaq S.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Zahdi W.-U.-Z.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI
Regional Studies in Marine Science | Year: 2016

Modification of Indus River flows to meet anthropogenic needs has seriously undermined the ecological benefits the river generates in the deltaic region. This paper provides an assessment of ecological conditions of the Indus Delta under different climate change scenarios by using ecological health of the Indus River as a proxy. First, we assessed the existing state of deltaic ecology and categorised it into an arbitrary environmental management class (EMC). Then, using Global Environmental Flow Calculator, we determined the Environmental Flows (E-flows) that are required for the Indus delta in (i) the present, and (ii) in the future under two climate change scenarios. Our analysis shows that due to inadequate and inconsistent release of E-flows downstream of Kotri barrage, deltaic ecosystems have deteriorated overtime. Our analysis reveals that under climate change Scenario 1, more flows may be available that can bring river flows close to natural E-flows. Under Scenario 2, there may be reduced river flows to the extent that E-flows required under prevailing conditions would not be possible. The study concludes that if the current deterioration of aquatic ecology continues, it will be challenging to maintain present, or achieve higher ecological management class (EMC), regardless of the changes in river flows in the future. In this light, there is a need to interlink economic and development needs of communities with environmental needs of Indus River in the deltaic region. Most importantly, there is a need for ensuring climate-compatible e-flows in water regulating sites such as Kotri Barrage. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Salik K.M.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Jahangir S.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Zahdi W.U.Z.,Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI | Hasson S.U.,University of Hamburg
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2015

This study aims to explore climate change induced socio-economic vulnerability of mangrove-dependent communities in the Indus Delta. We evaluate the linkages between vulnerability indicators by relating a community perceptions with observed and projected climate change scenarios. In evaluating these linkages, some key questions are considered such as: what are the likely socio-economic drivers contributing to community's sensitivity? Are these drivers impacting the community and how much is the community's coping potential to climate change? What are the key adaptation options necessary for increasing the community's resilience? This study is carried out in a coastal town (Keti Bandar), which is located in the Indus delta. This region is highly sensitive to declining fresh water flows, changing climate and meager socio-economic resources of local population. We have used the Composite Vulnerability Index (CVI) approach in order to draw a general picture of the community's vulnerability under a changing climate in Keti Bandar. The data for three CVI components (exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity) are collected at household level through questionnaire-based survey in six villages, however for exposure, secondary data is also acquired. Our assessment shows that these coastal communities, either engaged with the fishery or agriculture sector, are not only exposed, but are also highly sensitive to climate change driven threats. Moreover, lack of access to basic facilities, inadequate income diversification, and low education levels are negatively affecting the adaptive capacity of the entire local population. However, the communities' nature of dwelling, their strong family networks, and their ability to migrate contribute positively to their adaptive capacity. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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