“Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us” -Henrik Tikkanen. Urbanization is defined by the United Nations as movement of people from rural to urban areas with population growth equating to urban migration. Urbanization has led to numerous breakthroughs in society. Because of urbanization, we see the world as it is today. Skyscrapers along the horizon, industries in every corner and development projects underway everywhere the human eye can see. However, there are some major drawbacks to urbanization.Eric Hobsbawm’s book The age of the revolution: 1789–1848 (published 1962 and 2005) stated “Urban development in our period [1789–1848] was a gigantic process of class segregation, which pushed the new laboring poor into great morasses of misery outside the centers of government and business and the newly specialized residential areas of the bourgeoisie.
The almost universal European division into a ‘good’ west end and a ‘poor’ east end of large cities developed in this period.” Just like everything has an equal and opposite reaction, urbanization has an equally opposite effect. Urbanization has led to pollution in cities.
This pollution isn’t restricted to one aspect of our environment, but rather, the whole scenario such as air, water, and soil. According to Dr. Hannan, M. S and consultant chest specialist at Karachi Railway Hassan Hospital, the cause of urban pollution in Pakistan is the emission of fumes from vehicles like buses, cars, rickshaws, etc. “People and their actions are the main cause of urban runoff and urban pollution.Other common causes of urban pollution include improperly sited, designed, and maintained on-site waste water treatment system, pet wastes, lawn and garden fertilizers and pesticides, and numerous other things”, he said. To reduce air pollution, one would have to reduce the amount of vehicular toxins drastically.
Due to these emissions, the number of chest diseases have increased significantly. These diseases include bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, silicosis, fibrosing alveotos particles mesotchelil carcinoma and upper and lower respiratory diseases. In Karachi alone, the umber of asthma patients stands at about 17% of the entire population, stated Dr. Hannan. Urban pollution can also be reduced by more and more plantation. Pakistan made Guinness World Record of tree plantation by planting 541,176 saplings in one day from sunrise to sunset, breaking the Indian record of 447,874 trees in 2009. But because of mega construction projects running in our country oblivious to the environmental laws, many problems for plantation have arisen.
Campaigns for generating awareness amongst people must be started to get rid of this problem.Although urbanization has led to more opportunities for jobs, education, housing and transportation, its adverse effects can’t be ignored. Whether this change is in Pakistan or the USA, society has willingly transformed from pre-industrial to industrial. “So bleak is the picture… that the bulldozer and not the atomic bomb may turn out to be the most destructive invention of the 20th century.
” Philip Shabecoff’s remark, which was made in the New York Times Magazine on 4 June 1978, unfortunately states more than the obvious. Man-made inventions and man’s innate desire to want more will one day lead to the downfall of mankind.