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Population Growth and Environmental Sustainability— The Power of Awareness

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In the ongoing debate over environmental sustainability, population growth is often cited as a significant contributing factor to environmental degradation. However, the correlation between population and environmental pollution is not as straightforward as it might seem.

In fact, a growing population that is educated about environmental issues and practices minimalism could potentially contribute more positively to ecological sustainability than a smaller, less environmentally conscious population.

The assumption that a larger population inevitably leads to greater environmental harm stems from a simplified view of resource consumption and waste production. While more people can lead to increased resource demand, this does not necessarily translate into more pollution. The critical factor is how these people live and consume.

For instance, a single child in a household that prioritizes material wealth and consumption—marked by an abundance of toys, furniture, and clothing—can have a significantly larger environmental footprint than multiple children in a household that practices minimalism and environmental stewardship. This highlights that the number of people is less significant than their consumption patterns and lifestyle choices.

Environmental awareness plays a crucial role in determining the impact of a population on the environment. Educating individuals about the importance of sustainable practices can lead to a more environmentally friendly society, regardless of size.

When people understand the consequences of their actions on the environment, they are more likely to adopt behaviors that reduce pollution and conserve resources. Communities prioritizing recycling, energy efficiency, and sustainable consumption can significantly reduce their environmental footprint.

Such communities can flourish even with a larger population because the cumulative effect of their environmentally conscious behaviors outweighs the impact of their numbers.

Minimalism, the practice of living with less, directly combats the culture of overconsumption. Raising children with minimalist values instills a sense of environmental responsibility from a young age.

These children grow up understanding that their happiness and well-being are not dependent on accumulating material goods but rather on experiences, relationships, and a healthy environment. Minimalism reduces waste and conserves resources, which can mitigate the environmental impact of a growing population.

A family that practices minimalism avoids excessive consumption, which leads to environmental conservation. They might choose to buy fewer, high-quality items that last longer, reducing the demand for mass-produced goods that often come with significant environmental costs.

In the ongoing debate over environmental sustainability, population growth is often cited as a major contributing factor to environmental degradation.
In the ongoing debate over environmental sustainability, population growth is often cited as a major contributing factor to environmental degradation.

Some individuals, particularly in developed countries, often point fingers at the populations of developing countries, blaming their higher birth rates for environmental problems.

These critics, who often portray themselves as champions of sustainability by having only one or two children, overlook the stark reality that the carbon footprint of individuals in developing countries is typically much lower than that of those in wealthier nations.

In developing countries, the so-called “unprivileged” populations often live more sustainably by necessity, consuming fewer resources and generating less waste. In contrast, those in developed countries with fewer children may still have a significant environmental impact due to their consumption patterns, striving to provide their children with every conceivable comfort and luxury without considering the associated carbon footprint.

Combining environmental education with minimalist practices offers a pathway to sustainable population growth. By raising environmentally conscious children who practice minimalism, society can ensure that a larger population does not equate to more significant environmental harm.

Instead, this approach can lead to a more sustainable and resilient society. Education systems can play a pivotal role by incorporating environmental studies into their curricula, teaching students about the impacts of their choices on the environment, and promoting sustainable practices. Communities can support these efforts by creating environments that encourage minimalism and sustainable living.

Moreover, policy interventions can support this cultural shift by incentivizing sustainable behaviors and reducing barriers to minimalism. For instance, policies that promote the sharing economy, support local and sustainable businesses, and encourage public transportation can all contribute to a more sustainable population.

The relationship between population growth and environmental pollution is complex and mediated by numerous factors, particularly the behaviors and lifestyles of individuals. By fostering environmental awareness and minimalist values, society can mitigate the environmental impact of a growing population.

Raising more children who are conscious of their environmental footprint and practice minimalism can ultimately lead to a healthier planet. Rather than viewing population growth as a threat to the environment, we should focus on how we can educate and inspire future generations to live sustainably.

References

Also, read: Cooling Karachi — Combating Urban Heat with Green Spaces

The Challenges of Scientific Research in the Modern Era

According to the studies conducted by Space biologists Joshua P. Vandenbrink and John Z. Kiss in the Department of Biology, University of Mississippi USA, they found it interesting to study plant physiology and development in a unique environment of microgravity where they found that plants can grow seed-to-seed in microgravity as well as identifying the responses to other stimuli like light.

Initially, the experiments were carried out with difficulty. Still, the investigations and studies later determined that the improved experiments should be designed to maximize the value and applicability of the results generated.8

Critical analysis of scientific theories has been beneficial because it sets the grounds for more reliable approaches, novel scientific methodologies, and techniques, setting up systematic and well-organized research solutions and pioneering ways to advance inventions. 

The main goal of scrutinizing the scientific approaches is to enhance societal well-being. Scientific theory is not stagnant; it flows for improvement in one way or another until it becomes a unanimous solution.

As Paloto said, Science is nothing but perception”. Ever since prehistoric scholars began documenting their observations and experimentation, their research has been challenged by their peers and descendants, generation after generation. For decades, knowledge meant the knowledge proven, either by intellectual commentary, sensical shreds of evidence, or by systematic counter.2

After the pandemic, a heated wave of debates sprang up over the use of vaccines. Based on the published research, some doubts were raised about specific vaccines in terms of their adverse side effects.
After the pandemic, a heated wave of debates sprang up over the use of vaccines. Based on the published research, some doubts were raised about specific vaccines in terms of their adverse side effects.

The Historical Chinese Perspective

History narrates some exciting twists in scientific evolution, mainly affected by social and cultural influences. Some societies, like Chinese and Indian culture, had solid affiliations with sacred elements, more of a metaphysical nature, and supernatural powers. So, they somehow denied the involvement of scientific principles and natural phenomena.

The attitude of Chinese society towards natural phenomena was quite different from that of European countries, mainly during the Renaissance period.

The Chinese were stubborn about separating material things from their sacred world. They had no evident conviction that people could dominate nature and have any influential role in natural occurrences.

Nor even were they interested in developing a scientific method for their observations, due to which their theories often remained divorced from experimentation (Hellemans & Bunch, 1988, p. 59)1

What Is Good About Critical Analysis? 

The critical approach paves the way for continued research and makes it more beneficial. It provides solid grounds for the continuation of the process. Unlike any other discipline, which might not need analysis for its continuity, scientific methodology and study of nature involve constant assessment and evaluation.

The scientific method is interrogated at every step to redefine the procedures for repeated results unless it becomes a theory or a law.

The nature of critical studies in science depends upon the nature of the scientific discipline. For instance, history and sociology of science demonstrate the socially determined origins of scientific ideas and methodologies by critical analysts (Kuhn, 1970Latour, 1987Shapin, 1995Thackray, 1995Fine, 1996). 

The analysts who evaluate the cultural aspects of scientific data are mostly related to the dimensions of the communities and cultures in which they live (Pickering, 1992Rouse, 1993).

Philosophical analysts assess the values, principles, and interests that construct the research methodology and its effects.(Kuhn, 1970Lakatos and Musgrave, 1970Longino, 1990Proctor, 1991Rorty, 1991Feyerabend, 1993).3

Interesting Instances of Critical Research

The case studies regarding how the critical viewpoints have expanded, improved, and navigated the discoveries and provided well-researched, durable, and reliable solutions to problems faced by humanity, for instance, drug designing, mechanical solutions, pathological testing for disease diagnosis, and other disciplines of scientific research.

Medicine, health, and science are ripe with disputes and debates. Throughout history, spirited replies and rebuttals have been written and accompanied by rejoinders, responses, and editorials, and helped clarify or rebut essential concepts.4

Humoral Immunity to Severe COVID-19

The expert pediatricians (Fanous et al. (2020)) claimed that the neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 have generally been assumed to be protective against COVID-19 but with limited durability.

Humoral immunity is the ability of B cells to bind to a specific antigen, against which it will trigger an antibody response. Many factors that lead to severe immunodeficiencies are characterized by life-threatening viral infections that determine the susceptibility to severe cases of COVID-19.

However, further research proved that these neutralizing antibody responses are not demonstrated to be protective against or susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19.7

Anaphylactic Reactions to Pfizer’s Vaccine

All vaccines, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, should meet the criteria of safety, effectiveness, durability, affordability, and availability requirements. According to the informative investigation by de Vrieze (2021) that reports:

“At least 12 people suffered an anaphylactic reaction after receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine,” then how could the vaccine have been approved as safe, especially given the widely self-reported success rates claimed by Pfizer and BioNTech of around 95 percent in the news and social media reporting?

The investigations found the cause may be due to the compound polyethylene glycol (PEG) in their vaccine, which is also contained in the vaccine produced by Moderna.

Anaphylactic reactions are frequently caused by bee stings, eating peanuts, and some other varieties of tree nuts, so the compound polyethylene glycol (PEG) must have been known to cause similar reactions in vaccinated individuals, regardless of its previous use in vaccines.

As this was purportedly the first time the PEG compound was used in vaccine production, greater scrutiny should have been instigated and investigated in clinical laboratory trials before the vaccines were submitted for regulatory approval.

References:

More from the author: Excessive use of Technology links with Neurochemistry of the Brain

              A Deep Dive into EV Technology and Hydrogen Fuel Cells

              Since the second industrial revolution, the use of fossil fuels has skyrocketed, but it wasn’t until 1968 that the world learned about the adverse effects of climate change caused by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. The report presented to the American Petroleum Institute by Stanford Research Institute stated:

              “If the Earth’s temperature increases significantly, several events might be expected to occur, including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, a rise in sea levels, warming of the oceans, and an increase in photosynthesis.” (O. Milman, 2016)

              Fossil fuels in transportation

              The awareness around the topic grew, and the Firth Earth Day was observed in 1971. Since then, there have been several awareness campaigns and policy-making initiatives to promote the use of sustainable energy options such as solar power. But as the graph shows below, the highest contribution towards the use of fossil fuels is from the transportation sector.

              energy consumption

              Multiple alternatives like solar power, hydropower, and wind have gained popularity for electric power. However, because these methods require enormous setup, they failed to impact the transportation sector, including fuel for cars, trucks, ships, and aviation.

              Electric Vehicles (EVs)

              Feeling the need to create sustainable transportation methods, battery-powered systems were invented. Although the first practical electric vehicle (EV) was created in the 1890s in America, petrol-powered vehicles were used mainly due to the rise of internal combustion engines.

              The modern EVs emerged into the market with the introduction of the Toyota Prius in 1997. With continuous research and development, the 2000s marked the revival of EV cars, battery-powered or hybrid systems (EVBox, 2023).

              Since then, electric vehicles have gained massive popularity and now account for every 1 in 7 cars sold globally. All major automobile manufacturers like Tesla, Nissan, Mercedes, and BMW grabbed the opportunity and introduced new and better designs for cars and trucks.

              In 2022, a net-zero, fully battery-powered cargo ship was introduced by the name of Yara Birkeland, which is 80 meters long and can carry a little over 100 containers. The first all-electric aircraft, Alice, also took its first flight in September 2022, created by the company Eviation.

              Furthermore, tons of research is still being carried forward to improve battery systems to have higher capacity, lower maintenance, and lower costs.

              Limitations of EV technology

              Although international government bodies are endorsing the use of EV transportation, major concerns need to be addressed regarding this technology.

              EV cars have a limited battery range. The latest Tesla Model 3 is advertised as having a battery range of 341 miles, which may differ depending on the driver. However, a petrol-fueled car can easily drive 300-400 miles in a full tank, and a diesel car may drive up to 700 miles.

              The infrastructure around charging stations for EV cars is also underdeveloped. In many countries, including Pakistan, that is a significant hindrance for the masses not to buy complete EVs. Furthermore, charging times at these stations are also quite long. Fully charging an EV car can take up to 30-40 minutes, while a petrol or diesel-fueled vehicle can be refueled in 5 mins (S. Samarasinghe, 2024).

              The biggest disconcertment with EV transportation is the manufacturing of batteries that use minerals like Nickel, Magnesium, Cobalt, Lithium, and Graphite, emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases during mining.

              This makes the production of these batteries have a more significant amount of carbon footprint compared to the production of internal combustion engines, i.e., petrol or diesel engines (Tallodi, 2022).

              The Green Fuel Solution: Hydrogen

              Due to technical and environmental issues in the EV sector, the automotive and aviation industry has started looking for zero-emission solutions like hydrogen. Hydrogen is a highly flammable gas that can be used in internal combustion engines like diesel and petrol. It will only produce water vapors as waste.

              However, combustion hydrogen engines will not be utterly emission-free because they create excess heat that generates nitrogen oxides, which are harmful greenhouse gases. Combustion is also not a very efficient process due to the loss of energy as heat (J. Nebergall, 2022).

              Another alternative way of using hydrogen as a fuel is using Hydrogen Fuel Cells. In these fuel cells, hydrogen and oxygen are supplied at pressure, and an electrochemical process occurs across a membrane, creating electricity.

              This process also generates water vapors like hydrogen combustion engines. The electricity produced can be used to drive motors like in an EV, and this transportation system is called a hydrogen-electric powertrain (Sopp+Sopp, 2015).

              A lot of research and development is going on about hydrogen fuel cells in the automotive and avionics industries. The first widely available car based on hydrogen fuel cells is the Toyota Mirai, launched in 2014.

              Along with Toyota, Hyundai and Honda have also launched cars based on hydrogen fuel cells, and recently, BMW and Audi have displayed their concept cars, iX5 Hydrogen and Q5 FCEV, respectively, which are also based on similar technology.

              Regarding global climate change, the aviation industry is also a significant contributor to the cause. Several efforts have been made to reach zero-emission aviation engines. In that pursuit, multiple aviation companies are also working on enhancing the hydrogen-electric power trains that are used for aircraft.

              In fact, H2FLY, ZeroAvia, and Universal Hydrogen have successfully flown manned flights with hydrogen-electric power trains.

              A deeper dive into Hydrogen Fuel Cells

              Hydrogen fuel cell technology is still in the early stages of development and requires great engineering efforts to make it a good quality industrial product. The schematic diagram below demonstrates the basic workings of the PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) Fuel Cell.

              A PEM fuel cell. Credit: University of Strathclyde.
              A PEM fuel cell. Credit: University of Strathclyde.

              Hydrogen on the anode side splits into proton and electron; the proton goes through the membrane and combines with oxygen on the cathode side to create water, while the electrons gather up on the anode side, creating a potential difference between the cathode and anode. Multiple cells are assembled to create a fuel cell stack (University of Strathclyde).

              Hydrogen cells
              Bipolar Plate Assemblies in PEMFC. Credit: Ennovi
              Fuel Cell Stack by EH group. Credit: Hyfindr
              Fuel Cell Stack by EH group. Credit: Hyfindr

              The fuel cell stack design is highly complicated, mainly because of the Bipolar plates (BPPs). These plates are designed to meet the requirements for an efficient electrochemical reaction across the Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA).

              MEAs are sandwiched between BBPs, which ensures the correct quantity and pressure of gases to be fed to either side of the MEA. It simultaneously maintains enough contact for efficient electron transfer. Depending on the sealing method used, the BPPs should also be able to bear enough stress to support the compression required for the stacks to be leak-tight.

              Furthermore, these MEAs used are damped in strong acid, which can easily corrode metal plates. So, another layer of protective coating needs to be applied to save the BPPs from corrosion. The plates are generally made from thin sheets of metal, which are created using press forming. This is also a complicated process because of the complicated design of the BPPs.

              Apart from BPPs and MEAs, the temperature management system, water emission system, and pressure and mass flow regulation are also quite challenging. There are two types of Hydrogen fuel cell systems: Low-Temperature PEM fuel cells (LTPEM) and High-Temperature PEM fuel cells (HTPEM).

              As the name suggests, with a water-based cooling system, the LTPEM system operates at lower temperatures, averaging around 80 degrees C. HTPEM operates at higher temperatures of around 180 degrees C with an air-based cooling system.

              HTPEM systems are still in the prototyping stages but have shown better results compared to LTPEM, especially with high energy requirements like in a truck or an aircraft. HTPEM stacks are air-cooled, significantly reducing the overall system’s total weight.

              As this technology is still emerging, it faces many challenges in making it widely available. The most common concern around hydrogen is safety because it is highly flammable, so its storage and the system need to be extremely safe for public use.

              Secondly, the extraction of hydrogen from the electrolysis of water requires a lot of energy, which increases the price of hydrogen that can be used as fuel. The MEAs use precious metals like platinum and iridium as catalysts, which also add up to the overall cost.

              Along with a lot of investment to build this technology and its infrastructure, an intensive regulatory framework is also required to convince government bodies that this technology is greener, more efficient, and safer to use (TWI).   

              The future of hydrogen-electric powertrains seems promising as many companies worldwide are investing vast amounts of money into this technology, and policymakers are providing guidelines and incentives to the companies to pursue this dream of the Net-Zero Emission energy system. Therefore, according to Forbes magazine, green hydrogen will become the 21st-century version of oil.

              References

              • Doedee, V. (2023) Inside the world’s first electric cargo ship – Yara Birkeland, Sustainable Ships. Available at: https://www.sustainable-ships.org/stories/2021/worlds-first-electric-cargo (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • Fuel Cell Types (no date) Hydrogen economy – fuel cell types. https://www.esru.strath.ac.uk/EandE/Web_sites/03-04/hydrogen/fctypes.htm (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • Hannah Ritchie and Pablo Rosado (2017) – “Fossil fuels” Published online at OurWorldInData.org and retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/fossil-fuels’ (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • High-speed bipolar plate welding with FL-arm lasers: Coherent  (2022) Coherent. Available at: https://www.coherent.com/news/blog/bipolar-plate-welding (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • History of the electric car [2023 update] (2023) EVBox. Available at: https://blog.evbox.com/uk-en/electric-cars-history#:~:text=The%20world’ s%20first%20electric%20vehicles, Morrison’s%20vehicle%20from%20around%201890 (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • Linder, M. et al. (2023) The race to decarbonize electric-vehicle batteries, McKinsey & Company. Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/the-race-to-decarbonize-electric-vehicle-batteries (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • Nebergall, J. (2022) Hydrogen internal combustion engines and hydrogen fuel cells | Cummins Inc.., Cummins. Available at: https://www.cummins.com/news/2022/01/27/hydrogen-internal-combustion-engines-and-hydrogen-fuel-cells (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • The Oil industry knew of ‘serious’ climate concerns more than 45 years ago (2016) The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/13/climate-change-oil-industry-environment-warning-1968#:~:text=The%20Stanford%20Research%20Institute%20presented,harmful%20consequences%20for%20the%20planet (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • Published by Statista Research Department and 30, A. (2024) U.S. fossil fuel consumption by sector 2023, Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/244429/us-fossil-fuel-energy-consumption-by-sector/ (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • Samarasinghe, S. (2024) The shift from electric vehicles to hydrogen: Safety, reliability, and the future of Sustainable Transportation, LinkedIn. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/shift-from-electric-vehicles-hydrogen-safety-future-samarasinghe-dizyf/ (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • Silverstein, K. (2024) Green hydrogen will become the 21st century version of oil, Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2024/03/18/green-hydrogen-will-become-the-21st-century-version-of-oil/ (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • Sopp+Sopp (2024) Hydrogen fuel cell vs hydrogen combustion vehicles: What’s the difference?, sopp + sopp. Available at: https://www.soppandsopp.co.uk/news/hydrogen-fuel-cells-vs-hydrogen-combustion-engines (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • Tallodi, J. (2024) Seven disadvantages of Electric Cars, carwow.co.uk. Available at: https://www.carwow.co.uk/guides/choosing/disadvantages-of-electric-cars#gref (Accessed: 02 June 2024).
              • What are the pros and cons of hydrogen fuel cells? (no date) TWI. Available at: https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-hydrogen-fuel-cells (Accessed: 02 June 2024)

              More from the author: Navigating the aerospace industry with Anique Ajmal Siddiqui

              A Pioneer with Cracked Space Exploration Policy— Is the Hope Still Alive for Pakistan?

              Pakistan’s inaugural lunar mission on May 3rd, 2024, has generated nationwide excitement, providing a much-needed boost to the country’s space program. As the world prepares to co-habitat Mars and send humans back to the Moon, Pakistan’s space journey has just started, and it’s about time!

              Are we late to the Space Race?

              Pakistan was one of the pioneers in space technology in South Asia in the 1960s. Pakistan’s space exploration agency, The Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, SUPARCO, established in 1961— began its space journey by launching groundbreaking satellites lBadr-I.  

              Pakistan manufactured the first domestic satellite in 1985, followed by Badr-II in 2001, Paksat-1R in 2011, and the revolutionary PRSS-1 & PAK TES-1A in 2018. The launch of ICUBE-Q in 2024 is the first time when a Pakistani satellite will collect samples from the far side of the moon!

              Pakistan manufactured the first domestic satellite, Badr-I, in 1985
              Pakistan manufactured the first domestic satellite, Badr-I, in 1985.

              Our neighboring countries- like China and India- have a successful lunar mission history and a vibrant space industry. As Pakistan works towards realizing its vision for the 2040 space program, it currently relies on international partnerships for space missions due to economic limitations and the early stage of development of its space industry. Having forefathers like Dr. Abdus Salam, Dr Abdul Qadir Khan, and Dr Tariq Mustaf, the nation has failed to produce more such visionaries for decades.

              The lack of education and economic challenges are some of the basic hindrances in Paksitan’s space exploration program. Despite the challenges, Pakistan has become the sixth country to launch its first-ever moon satellite: iCube Qamar.

              Getting the Basics Right

              With the advancement in space exploration and striving to achieve sustainable development goals, it has become even more significant to have a strong focus on the space policy for national security and human development.

              According to statistics released by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), over one million students are presently pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in universities and degree colleges. On the contrary, UNICEF data reveals an alarming 22.8 million aged 5-16 are out of school.

              The literacy rate lies at a mere 58 percent of the total population, and it is good to know that many are pursuing STEM education. It is worth mentioning that Pakistan’s science, technology, and innovation sectors are gradually progressing, with the government focusing on more robust policies and implementation of STIs, but the advancement in space technology and exploration is still not in the spotlight.

              The literacy rate of Pakistan lies at a mere 58 percent of the total population. Credit: World Bank
              The literacy rate of Pakistan lies at a mere 58 percent of the total population. Credit: World Bank

              Space exploration stimulates innovation, encourages global cooperation, and sparks the imagination of future scientists and engineers, fueling economic progress and enriching our standard of living.

              The Need for Space Exploration

              Although space exploration is a big-budget venture, it yields tangible advantages for life on Earth. Innovations crafted for space missions, such as satellite communication and Earth observation, enhance everyday tasks like communication, navigation, and disaster management. 

              The National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2022 includes only a brief overview of the importance of the inclusion of space technology in the science policy, mentioned as an emerging technology, that doesn’t really do justice to the agenda.

              Astronomy education is not deeply integrated into the curriculum, with no specific school courses dedicated to the subject. Basic concepts are introduced at different levels, such as the Solar system and eclipses in primary education and topics like Newtonian gravity and Special relativity in secondary and higher secondary school.

              Pakistan has only three planetariums in Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi, only the one in Karachi is functional, operating under Pakistan International Airlines.

              Moreover, Insufficient funding stands as a primary obstacle for SUPARCO; with a budget of only USD26 million for 2023, the agency operates within limited financial means compared to its competitors like the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which enjoys an annual budget exceeding 1.5 billion USD. 

              According to BBC Urdu, Dr. Khurram, a member of the “iCubeQamar” mission team, highlights that while SUPARCO is persistently striving in Pakistan, students entering this field often lack special recognition and face limited opportunities within the country.

              Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal, recently met with the SUPARCO Chairman, underscoring the significance of space exploration for Pakistan’s advancement. Ahsan Iqbal recommended bolstering the capabilities of the Institute of Space Technology and the National Center of Excellence for Satellite and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

              Furthermore, he proposed the creation of a space museum at the Narowal Learning Center aimed at promoting science education among children.

              The Hope is Still Alive!

              Despite the challenges, Young Entrepreneurs and Space enthusiasts in Pakistan are working tirelessly to revive its space industry. The latest triumph of students from Pakistan’s Institute of Space Science and Technology (ISST) in building the payload ICUBE- Qamar onboard the Chang’e 6 mission.

              The design and development of ICUBE-Q are a collaborative effort between IST faculty and students, Pakistan’s national space agency SUPARCO, and China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU).

              The launch of ICUBE-Q in 2024 is the first time when a Pakistani satellite will collect samples from the far side of the moon! Credit: IST
              The launch of ICUBE-Q in 2024 is the first time when a Pakistani satellite will collect samples from the far side of the moon! Credit: IST

              While talking to Samaa TV, Dr. Rahman Mehmood, Director of the Small Satellite Technology project, expressed that observing our neighboring countries and numerous others making significant strides in space exploration motivated us to focus on technological advancement as well.

              The launch of this iCube Qmar was made possible by collaborative efforts of students at IST and Shanghai University says prof Khurram Khurshid on Kainaati Chai. Nearly seventy students at IST, along with fifteen students from Shanghai University, worked on this project.

              These students were from diverse STEM backgrounds like mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, avionics, and computer science. These efforts and dedication will help pave the way for future collaboration and opportunities between China and Pakistan. 

              Efforts to spread Space education in Pakistan

              Outside the classroom, a few amateur astronomical societies in Pakistan support astronomy education in major urban cities like Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Private entities like Taqwa Observatory, Kastrodome, ZED, and Eden Observatories contribute significantly to promoting astronomy. Exploration Classroom by Yumna Majeed organizes hands-on learning opportunities for kids about space using telescopes and space meteorites. 

              Khawarizmi Society is also renowned for organizing STEM-based events, including Science Melas and mobile planetariums. Rah-e-Qamar helps organize events like NASA Space App Challenges and the International Astronomical Union’s citizen scientists programs with the collaboration of space enthusiasts and science societies. 

              In Addition, SUPARCO also has a space education and awareness drive named SEAD Program that actively organizes space-related contests and activities in schools and universities nationwide. 

              Pakistan ranked as the third nation for organizing 7,836 events for the celebration of World Space Week (Oct 4-10, 2023). Most of these events were student-led, depicting their commitment and passion for space exploration and awareness. 

              We are collectively enhancing our comprehension of space sciences and technology by participating in such events and discussions on social media, in classrooms, and within our homes. Pakistan can carve out a significant role in the global space community through continued investment in STEM education, policy reforms, and international collaborations.

              References:

              More from the author: https://scientiamag.org/siri-paye-and-saturns-moon-enceladus-share-a-significant-life-component/

              Fostering Equity and Inclusion in Pakistan’s STEM Landscape

              In recent years, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education has been dramatically emphasized worldwide and demands the need for equity and inclusion. Although there is a global discourse on this need, it is particularly significant in countries like Pakistan. 

              The World Economic Forum explains the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in STEM through an analogy that “Inviting everyone to the party is diversity, sharing DJ responsibility is inclusion, and having a large enough dance floor for everyone to groove on is equity.”

              This highlights the need for active participation and equal opportunities for all (Urbina-Blanco et al., 2020).

              Pakistan stands at the crossroads of innovation and inequality, where the future in STEM fields seems bright. Still, disparities of inequality, fewer opportunities, and access to these fields come in the way.  

              Barriers to Equity in STEM

              While growing up and acknowledging the diversity of subjects and fields, I felt and comprehended the need for diversity and inclusion in STEM education. Students from background areas in Pakistan, not from the bigger cities, may face the dilemma of hardly knowing the options to opt for higher studies.

              Most common perceptions are about being a doctor, engineer, or other arts subject, and the knowledge about the diversity of subjects, fields, and careers in STEM is minimal. 

              I believe this is due to the lack of career counseling, advisory student counselors, or facilities in those areas. If we talk about public schools, their curriculum, approach to learning, and teaching practices differ from those of private schools. This highlights the issues in equity, inclusion, access, and diversity of STEM education for every such student.

              Pakistan, like many other countries, faces various issues of gender inequality, regional or ethnic differences, and socioeconomic distinctions that impact access and inclusion in the STEM fields.

              Particularly if we talk about women’s rights and education in Pakistan, they face many challenges, including cultural or social barriers, lack of support, and access to opportunities. This lack of gender and racial equality has been under study for more than four and a half decades, according to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) (Hamrick, 2021).

              Although there is an increased ratio of undergraduate women in science fields, their number in computer science, engineering, and technology needs to be improved (Fry et al., 2021). Due to the ethnic differences, they are mainly in number in these high-earning STEM occupations (Hamrick, 2021).

              STEM
              Students from background areas in Pakistan, not from the bigger cities, may face the dilemma of hardly knowing the options to opt for higher studies. Credits: UNICEF/PAKISTAN

              The Pew Research Center is a Washington-based nonprofit think tank that informs the public about the issues and trends shaping our world. It reports, “Despite the continuous efforts to increase diversity in STEM education, the current trends in the attainment of degrees in STEM are unlikely to close or narrow down all these gaps” (Fry et al., 2021).

              Additionally, students from minority backgrounds and marginalized areas have also been primarily excluded and face issues to fully engage in STEM education and careers. Many studies highlight that the climate of higher education STEM programs is not welcoming for these kinds of students. 

              The Chilly Climate Theory

              The “chilly climate theory” states that minority students experience discrimination in their college lives, in every aspect, including the interactions with their fellows, faculty, and administrators, due to a chilly culture in educational institutions that fosters discrimination and biases towards these students (Bottia et al., 2021).

              This theory also highlights women’s negative experiences in higher education, such as speaking less or being hesitant during STEM classes. It highlights the chilly climate as racist and sexist in higher education (Bottia et al., 2021).

              Another reason is that these minority students often lack sufficient academic preparation to adapt and pursue STEM fields and thus withdraw from them. One of the possible theories is that they might exit due to their limited knowledge or interest in these subjects, which is called deficit thinking.

              However, anti-deficit theory highlights the disparity of educational institutions in preparing students inadequately for their further academic levels (Palid et al., 2023). 

              Approaches for Equity and Inclusion in STEM

              As the need for STEM education evolves with time, the need for specialized and focused workforce also increases essentially, but unfortunately, not everyone has equal access and opportunity. There is a need to understand the significance of an inclusive workforce in getting scientific advancements and innovation. For that purpose, the accessibility of the population is equally important. 

              “If this nation wants to be a competitive leader in STEM, it has to revitalize its vision of what it needs to do, particularly in the public schools where most Black and brown people are, about producing the human and physical infrastructure to teach STEM,” says Joseph L. Graves Jr., professor of biological sciences at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (O’Rourke, 2021).

              What needs to be done? 

              The struggle to include diversity in STEM fields required continuous research into diversity-focused interventions. Fostering equity and inclusion involves several approaches. 

              • The science curriculum must foster mathematical reasoning, scientific literacy, and a deep practical understanding of the content rather than just learning about the procedures or definitions in the text (Harrison et al., 2020). The studies focus on enhancing students’ empowerment to identify themselves as engineers, biologists, etc., particularly in identifying the fields of their interest.
              • A focus on STEM educators’ training to highlight the significance of equity in the educational process. It includes supporting all the students equally, not favoring certain groups, and adopting approaches that enhance their interests and participation in STEM fields like practical demonstrations, study circles, etc. 
              • The educators should train about the integration of STEM education in all disciplines. This may include using technology-based tools like study casts and projectors and incorporating arts and reading. (Harrison et al., 2020).
              • There is a dire need for a few innovative approaches to fill the opportunity gaps for students who face cultural, social, or financial barriers (Ladson-Billings, 2013). This may include conducting free summer camps, assistive technology, etc.
              • Authorities should work to enhance ongoing professional development and training programs for educators, incorporating diversity and anti-biased training for professionals, giving equal representation to individuals from marginalized areas in STEM careers by high recruiting (Urbina-Blanco et al., 2020), using technology for education all the public and private sector schools, helping the students to identify their careers, etc.
              • There is a need to provide appropriate infrastructure, educational resources, scholarships, and financial aid to students from underprivileged areas and minority groups (Palid et al., 2023). This practice may help bridge the socioeconomic gaps in our society.
              • There should be more initiatives to break gender stereotypes and assist women’s education and career opportunities.

              Overall, by creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported, Pakistan can unlock the full potential of its diversified, talented population and promote innovation and excellence. It paves the way for an inclusive and accessible STEM landscape for national development.

              References

              • Bottia, M. C., Mickelson, R. A., Jamil, C., Moniz, K., & Barry, L. (2021). Factors associated with college STEM participation of racially minoritized students: A synthesis research. Review of Educational Research, 91(4), 614–648. 
              • Fry, R., Kennedy, B., & Funk, C. (2021). STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity. 
              • Hamrick, K. (2021). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering. National Science Foundation Retrieved from https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf21321/report
              • Harrison, L., Hurd, E., & Brinegar, K. (2020). Equity and access to STEM education. Middle School Journal, 51(3), 2–3. https://doi.org/10.1080/00940771.2020.1735847 
              • Ladson-Billings, G. (2013). Lack of achievement or loss of opportunity. Closing the opportunity gap: What America must do to give every child an even chance, 11, 11-22. 
              • O’Rourke, B. (2021). Increasing access and opportunity is crucial, say experts. Harvard Gazette
              • Palid, O., Cashdollar, S., Deangelo, S., Chu, C., & Bates, M. (2023). Inclusion in practice: A systematic review of diversity-focused STEM programming in the United States. International Journal of STEM Education, 10(1), 2. 
              • Urbina-Blanco, C. A., Jilani, S. Z., & Speight, I. R. (2020, August 17). Science is everybody’s party: 6 ways to support diversity and inclusion in STEM. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/08/science-stem-support-inclusion-diversity-equality/ 

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              “The Physician”— A Masterpiece of History and Medicine

              The Physician is a 2013 historical drama film about a young orphan boy, Rob Cole, who aspires to become a physician in the 11th century. The film provides a glimpse into the Islamic world of science during this period and how it shaped the development of modern medicine. The film is directed by Philipp Stölzl and stars Tom Payne, Stellan Skarsgard, and Emma Rigby. Here

              The film is a sweeping epic that takes the audience on a journey through the medieval world, depicting the harsh realities of life during this period. The film is a visual feast, with stunning cinematography and production design that takes the viewer back in time.

              The attention to detail in the costumes and sets is awe-inspiring, adding to the sense of immersion in the film’s historical setting.

              One of the most intriguing aspects of the film is its portrayal of the medieval Persian physician, Ibn-i-Sina, who is portrayed as a wise and compassionate mentor to the young protagonist.
              One of the most intriguing aspects of the film is its portrayal of the medieval Persian physician Ibn-i-Sina, who is portrayed as a wise and compassionate mentor to the young protagonist. Photo Movie Nation

              One of the most intriguing aspects of the film is its portrayal of the medieval Persian physician Ibn-i-Sina, who is portrayed as a wise and compassionate mentor to the young protagonist. The film highlights the contributions of Ibn-i-Sina to the field of medicine and his influence on the development of modern medical practices.

              He was a polymath who wrote extensively on medicine, philosophy, and other sciences. His most famous work, “The Canon of Medicine,” was a medical encyclopedia used as a textbook in European medical schools for centuries.

              The film also depicts the Islamic Golden Age, a period of intellectual and scientific flourishing in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries. It was a time whenn several groundbreaking discoveries and innovations were made, and it played a vital role in transmitting knowledge from the ancient to the modern world.

              The film also provides a glimpse into Islamic hospitals and their role in the development of medicine. Islamic hospitals were some of the first institutions to offer free and comprehensive medical care, and they were a significant source of medical knowledge during this period.

              They were also equipped with libraries, research facilities, and teaching rooms, which served as centers for advancing medical knowledge.

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              Pakistan’s Science Policy lacks Diplomatic Initiatives

              Diplomacy has deep roots in history as it is one of the oldest methods of sustaining exquisite relations among nations based on their interests in trade, information, and security education. According to the National Museum of American Diplomacy, it is an art and practice of building and maintaining relationships and conducting negotiations with people using tact and mutual respect2.

              It first commenced in Mesopotamia, now Iraq, in 2850 B.C.E between leaders of Iraq and Canaan1. The United Nations stresses bilateral cooperation among countries to sort out their issues so that conflicts in the world are reduced, as before diplomacy, the planet was no less than a theatre of wars.

              SCIENCE DIPLOMACY

              The concept of Science Diplomacy was minted in a meeting held in 2009 at Wilton House, United Kingdom, organized by the Royal Society London & American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). However, countries started working to correlate with the help of science informally after World War II.

              After the Second World War, countries actively engaged in Science Diplomacy to enhance international Collaboration. Two organizations that emerged due to these efforts include the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), founded in 1945, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), founded in 1957.

              Another significant project that emerged was the International Space Station (ISS), which collaborated with collaboration agencies in the U.S., Russia, Japan, the European Union, and Canada. 

              Among the matters conferred in diplomacy, Science and Technology are essential; as science progresses at an indispensable speed; extended innovations happen to be seen with every passing day. While observing all these happenings, diplomacy attempted to evolve itself by including observations on Scientific problems and discussions.

              The experts and advisors develop a clan of aces from all across the world to resolve scientific issues and assist developing nations in joining the technology race following the footprints of developed countries.

              European Union (EU) has already set a remarkable example of the manifestation of the concept of Science Diplomacy. In Europe, several institutions were established after the commencement of Science diplomacy, like The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), and the Inter­national Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

              In recent examples, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) being assembled in France and the Synthrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Application in the Middle East (SESAME) being funded by the EU are some prominent examples4.

              The American Association For The Advancement Of Science (AAAS) also aims to bridge nations based on their scientific cooperation, elevate the science level, address global scientific problems & find solutions. Explicitly, the world has been growing in levels of science diplomacy each day.

              Pakistan’s Science Diplomacy

              Pakistan has long been working to fit Science into its Diplomatic initiatives. In 2016, the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Japan joined together to formalize a Foreign Ministries Science and Technology Advisors Network aimed at elevating S&T inputs for diplomacy as Pakistan launched its SDI (Pakistan Science Diplomacy Initiative) in 2018. 

              Pakistan is allocating only 0.0552 percent of its total budget to Science and Technology, which is PKR 8000 million for a total of PKR14.485 trillion5. Meanwhile, India spends 0.36 percent of the total budget - Science policy
              Pakistan is allocating only 0.0552 percent of its total budget to Science and Technology, which is PKR 8000 million for a total of PKR14.485 trillion5. Meanwhile, India spends 0.36 percent of the total budget!

              Pakistan’s Science Diplomacy Initiative is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS), and the OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) to facilitate successful international scientific collaborations.

              Despite making excellent progress, Pakistan still needs efforts to put in to equalize its potential to the rest of the world. Pakistan lacks Science Policy and diplomatic initiatives in it. Here are the reasons and instances that show how uninspiring Pakistan is when it comes to its science policy.

              Major Economic Upheavals

              Pakistan is allocating only 0.0552 percent of its total budget to Science and Technology, which is PKR 8000 million for a total of PKR14.485 trillion5. Meanwhile, India spends 0.36 percent of the total budget, Korea 4.8 percent of its GDP, the United States 3.45 percent, and China 2.4 percent of its GDP6.

              Pakistan has been facing challenges on Economic grounds that have restricted it from spending more on R&D in S&T. The country has been entangled in gnawing debts that fade its fate to see its prosperity in science-based relationships.

              Science in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a very minuscule portion to discuss on International platforms since MoFA is spending its majority of interests and priorities on stabilizing the economy.

              Political Instability 

              Ever since its Independece, one major obstacle that impedes Pakistan from progress is Political Instability. Every new government tried to shift science policy according to their own agendas. This led to inconsistent science policies that dissembled Pakistan on Science Forums in research and development.

              It also undermined Pakistan’s credibility as a reliable partner in science collaboration. Inconsistent Policies have been making International Partners reluctant to initiate joint research programmes with Pakistan’s Science experts and minds.

              The solution to this problem is as simple as a problem—Politicians and experts must ensure the completion of ongoing projects in collaboration with International partners so that the confidence of international forums and communities in making treaties with Pakistan is not compromised.

              Relations with Neighbors  

              Pakistan shares its border with China, India, Iran and Afghanistan. Despite having profligate relations with China, three of these states are going through border tensions with Pakistan due to several political issues that stymie collaboration founded on science.

              There is a burgeoning effort undergone recently that illustrates how effective regional cooperation is to set practical examples. Pakistan and China have collaborated on a lunar mission, with Pakistan’s ICUBE-Q satellite launching aboard China’s Chang’e-6 lunar mission.

              This mission marks a significant milestone for Pakistan’s space program and is a testament to the country’s growing capabilities in space technology.

              The project is a collaboration between Pakistan’s Institute of Space Technology (IST), China’s Shanghai University, and the China National Space Agency (CNSA).

              Pakistan and China have collaborated on a lunar mission, with Pakistan's ICUBE-Q satellite launching aboard China's Chang'e-6 lunar mission.
              Pakistan and China have collaborated on a lunar mission, with Pakistan’s ICUBE-Q satellite launching aboard China’s Chang’e-6 lunar mission.

              Amid border tensions with India due to territorial conflicts, Pakistan is confronting major challenges to resume diplomacy on Science. India has been making remarkable achievements in several science sectors.

              According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology India, in 2022, India’s IT sector exports reached $178 billion, with IT services accounting for $104 billion. 2023 the IT sector is estimated to spend over $110 billion. MEITY projected a nine percent increase in IT Exports by the end of 2023, reaching the graph to $194 billion7.

              In a fairly recent development, India joined the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom in the space exploration race by overcoming all obstacles to reach the Moon as part of the July 2023-launched Chandrayaan-3 mission.

              Reviving research cooperation between Pakistan and India is imperative, putting aside political and geographical disputes in order to attain international respect in scientific forums. Despite the fact that Pakistan and India have occasionally collaborated in the past, a partnership between two TWAS Fellows, Dorairajan Balasubramanian of India and Anwar Nasim of Pakistan, created several opportunities.

              Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan must ensure all possible steps to reconcile with Indian Research Institutes relinquishing all territorial disputes. These efforts would revive science diplomacy and benefit humanity, unearthing several undiscovered treasures.

              Issues that Pakistan could have solved with Science Diplomacy

              Air Pollution: In Pakistan and India, burning crops is a typical practice for growing crops for the next year. However,, excessive crop burning is deteriorating the quality of the air in both countries. Although air quality is deemed acceptable at 100 and healthy at 50, Lahore, Pakistan, had the highest levels of air pollution in 2023, with New Delhi coming in at 333.

              The problems and effects caused by unchecked smoke emissions could have been discussed by both countries’ researchers and analysts at a joint conference. Providing both countries with methods to prevent air quality from being dilapidated would be beneficial.

              Water Management: Water had been one of the major problems that Pakistan encountered efficiently at the time when Pakistan was one blink away from the water war with India because India’s ability to control the Indus’ headwaters allowed it to make Fertile Pakistan a desert.

              Some water-related problems between India and Pakistan are resolved, but the country fears water scarcity across Pakistan since India announced building more dams.

              In order to prevent this problem from becoming the source of political unrest, Pakistan and India could have used scientific diplomacy to forge ahead with international partners in the development of cutting-edge technology for sustainable agricultural methods, water conservation, and desalination.

              Climate Change: The greenhouse effect, a phenomenon that results from the accumulation of CO2 from burning fossil fuels in any form, is the main factor causing climate change and global warming.

              Pakistan ranked fifth among the most vulnerable countries due to climate change. Its geographic location makes extreme weather events like floods and droughts perpetually common. According to World Bank estimates, air pollution and environmental deterioration could result in an 18–20 percent decline in Pakistan’s GDP by 2050 10.

              In order to mitigate the mounting risk of climate change, Pakistan’s science policy ought to focus on international communities while urging them to act on sustainable measures to cut carbon emissions.

              Shahbaz Sharif, the premier of Pakistan, warned about climate change at the World Economic Forum ( WEF ) in Riyadh during his most recent visit to Saudi Arabia. He emphasized the need for collective efforts to allay worries about climate change.

              “Pakistan was not responsible for any global emissions, yet in 2022, it faced the worst climate-triggered floods, which hugely devastated the infrastructure and buildings. Consequently, they had to spend billions of rupees to rehabilitate the affected people”.

              References

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              Journey through Time and Space—The Revolutionary Role of Telescopes in Astronomy

              Humanity had gazed skyward at the vast expanse of stars and planets for millennia. Yet the true nature of the universe remained shrouded in mystery. This all changed with the invention of the telescopes, which served as transformative tools that became our cosmic eye and altered the landscape of astronomical discovery.

              Most astronomers use telescopes on the ground to look through the Earth’s atmosphere to see into space.      The atmosphere blocks out light from part of Electromagnetic Spectrum. These telescopes offer a clear view of the night sky, allowing for capturing stunning celestial phenomena and collecting valuable data. ([1], n.d.)

              Discovery of Galileo Galilei

              In the 17th century, he improved his telescope and witnessed the previously unseen craters on the Moon, four moons of Jupiter (Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto), and sunspots on our host star. These discoveries challenged the prevailing geocentric model, where Earth was believed to be the center of the universe. Galileo’s observations supported the heliocentric model, placing the Sun at the center of our solar system. ([2], n.d.)

              The Galilean moons of Jupiter and its great red spot ([2], n.d.)

              Edwin Hubble Discovery

              Perhaps the most groundbreaking discovery made with a ground-based telescope was achieved by Edwin Hubble in 1929. By observing distant galaxies, he noticed that their light was redshifted, indicating they were moving away from Earth.

              This realization led to the theory of the expanding universe and resulted in the formulation of the Big Bang theory, which is our current understanding of the universe’s origin.

              The Role of Radio Telescopes

              Radio telescopes like the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) play a crucial role in cosmic exploration. Unlike optical telescopes that detect visible light, radio telescopes pick up on the faint radio waves emitted by objects in space, including:

              Interstellar Gas and Dust Clouds

              These clouds, invisible to optical telescopes, are crucial sites for star and planet formation. By observing them, ALMA observes the hidden processes of stellar nurseries. It also discovered a supermassive black hole in Messier 87 galaxy. ([3], n.d.)

              The figure shows black hole in M87 ([3], n.d.)
              The image of the black hole M87 ([3], n.d.)

              Exoplanetoty atmospheres

              Radio telescopes detect molecules in the atmospheres of exoplanets, potentially hinting at the presence of conditions suitable for life. The large exoplanet TVLM 513b was discovered in 2020. ([4], n.d.)

              Giant Leaps with the Very Large Telescope (VLT)

              With its four-unit telescope working together, the VLT is one of Earth’s most powerful optical telescopes. This ground-based marvel has made significant contributions to our understanding of the universe, including:

              Formation of Galaxies

              Detailed observations of distant galaxies by the VLT have provided insights into the early universe and the processes that led to the formation of galactic structures. Chile’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) discovered a cluster of 20 galaxies. ([5], n.d.)

              Universe with Space Telescopes

              Space-based telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) offer unparalleled advantages as they operate above Earth’s atmosphere; they are free from light pollution, atmospheric distortions, and the limitations of the visible light spectrum.

              JWST has more resolution and can observe infrared light of longer wavelengths than HST. This allows them to peer deeper into space and observe objects invisible from Earth.

              Gazing Back in Time with JWST and Hubble

              With their ability to observe infrared light, JWST and HST act as time machines. By capturing light that has traveled for billions of years, they offer a glimpse into the universe’s infancy. Their observations have yielded incredible discoveries, including:

              The first Stars and Galaxies

              JWST and HST have captured images of some of the very first galaxies formed after the Big Bang, allowing us to study the universe’s earliest stages of evolution. JWST has confirmed a proto-cluster of seven galaxies at a distance that astronomers refer to as redshift 7.9, or a mere 650 million years after the Big Bang, as shown in the figure. ([6], n.d.)

              The figure shows the galaxies 650 million years after the big bang ([6], n.d.)

              Active Galectic Nuclie (AGN)

              Space telescopes have observed these powerful, energy-emitting regions at the center of some galaxies in incredible detail, revealing insights into their formation and behavior. JWST reveals active supermassive black holes that were surprisingly rare in the early universe. ([7], n.d.)

              Supernovae and Nebulae

              The powerful explosions mark the end of a star’s life and enrich the interstellar medium with the elements necessary for new star and planet formation. Additionally, space telescopes have captured images of various stellar nurseries. ([8], n.d.)

              The Future of Telescopic Exploration

              While the discoveries made by JWST and Hubble are truly remarkable, Euclid promises to push the boundaries of our understanding even further. Euclid will act as a cosmic cartographer mapping the distribution of dark matter, the mysterious invisible substance thought to comprise a significant portion of the universe’s mass.

              Figure shows the Perseus cluster by Euclid
Telescope ([9], n.d.)
              The Perseus cluster by Euclid Telescope ([9], n.d.)

              The Synergy of Ground and Space

              The synergy between ground-based and space-based telescopes allows astronomers to create a more complete picture of the cosmos. For example, a space telescope might detect a distant galaxy, and a ground-based telescope could then be used to measure its redshift, providing information about its distance and the expansion of the universe.

              Technological advancements in radio telescopes, like the next-generation Square Kilometer Array (SKA), will offer even greater sensitivity and resolution, revealing faint and previously undetectable objects.

              The Spark of Curiosity— Astronomy’s Impact on Science and Society

              The journey of telescopic exploration has not only revolutionized our understanding of the universe but has also significantly impacted science and society as a whole; it has applications in optics, engineering, and material, from medical imaging to fiber optics communications.

              Telescopic discoveries spark curiosity by inspiring future generations to explore, innovate, and push the boundaries of human knowledge.

              As we continue to develop more powerful telescopes and refine our observational techniques, the coming decades promise even more groundbreaking discoveries. The universe holds countless secrets waiting to be unveiled, and telescopes remain our powerful tools to unlock them.

              References

              • (n.d.). Retrieved from the school’s observatory; Ground telescope: https://www.schoolsobservatory.org/learn/eng/tels/groundtel
              • (n.d.). Retrieved from [10]: https://esahubble.org/images/heic0611b/
              • (n.d.). Retrieved from NASA: https://science.nasa.gov/solar-system/galileos-observations-of-the-moon-jupiter-venus-and-the-sun/
              • (n.d.). Retrieved from Brittanica: https://www.britannica.com/science/radio-telescope
              • (n.d.). Retrieved from Max planck Gasellschaft: https://www.mpg.de/15245755/vlba-radio-telescope-discovers-exoplanet
              • (n.d.). Retrieved from CERN COURIER: https://cerncourier.com/a/vlt-discovers-early-galactic-cluster/
              • (n.d.). Retrieved from NASA Webb: https://www.nasa.gov/universe/webb-reveals-early-universe-prequel-to-huge-galaxy-cluster/
              • (n.d.). Retrieved from Supermassive Galaxy: https://www.space.com/james-webb-space-telescope-reveals-active-supermassive-black-holes-were-surprisingly-rare-in-early-universe
              • (n.d.). Retrieved from ESA HUBBLE: https://esahubble.org/images/archive/category/nebulae/
              • (n.d.). Retrieved from ESA HUBBLE: https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Euclid/Euclid_s_first_images_the_dazzling_edge_of_darkness

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              Cooling Karachi — Combating Urban Heat with Green Spaces

              The bus jolted to a stop, waking Hassan abruptly. Stepping off, he was hit with a blast of intense heat from the midday sun, which hung high in the cloudless sky like a relentless white disk. Sweat formed on his forehead despite the cap he loosely held over his head. Hassan squinted at the “park” across the street– a dusty area of cracked earth with a few scraggly trees offering minimal shade.

              Supposed to be a refuge from Karachi’s scorching summer, a place to escape the oppressive heat trapped between towering buildings, it was a constant disappointment. Hassan sighed, feeling the familiar disappointment settle in his chest. Surely, there had to be a better way.

              Hassan’s story was not unique. Millions of Karachiites faced the harsh reality of urban heat. With limited green spaces and temperatures regularly exceeding 38°C, finding relief from the relentless sun is a daily struggle.

              However, what if the solution wasn’t just enduring the heat but actively fighting against it? The answer lies in a solution as simple as nature itself – creating a network of thriving urban green spaces.

              Amidst the rising global temperatures, the world is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The recent global climate report released by NOAA states that April 2024 was the warmest April ever recorded worldwide, surpassing the previous record set just four years prior. As Pakistan ranks fifth on the list of countries most at risk from climate change (UN-Habitat, 2023), the urgency of addressing these challenges becomes ever more apparent. 

              But why does the heat feel so intense in urban areas like Karachi? It’s due to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. Buildings, roads, and other infrastructure absorb and release more of the sun’s heat compared to natural landscapes like forests and bodies of water. This is especially true in urban areas where there are many structures and limited greenery, resulting in localized areas of higher temperatures known as “heat islands.”

              The lack of green spaces that provide a cooling effect causes urban temperatures to skyrocket, making summers even more unbearable. Studies have shown that surface temperatures in cities can be a staggering 10-15°C higher than in surrounding rural areas (Mentaschi et al., 2022).  

              Bodies of water and green spaces like parks create cooler microclimates in cities, while suburban-rural areas generally experience lower temperatures than downtown areas. Source: EPA United States
              Bodies of water and green spaces like parks create cooler microclimates in cities, while suburban-rural areas generally experience lower temperatures than downtown areas. Source: EPA United States

              Heat Islands—Impact on Quality of Life

              The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect significantly impacts the quality of life in Karachi. It causes heatwaves to last longer in the city, resulting in abnormally hot and often humid weather. This has serious consequences for health, such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and even death, particularly among vulnerable groups like children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions.

              A recent project by Aga Khan University seeks to measure extreme heat’s impact on maternal and child health. Researchers are concerned about the greater impact of heat stress and temperature fluctuations on pregnant women. Gynecologist Safia Manzoor from Lyari General Hospital states, “We have noticed an increase in cases of pre-term births during hot weather.”

              In addition, high temperatures cause air pollutants, such as smog, to become trapped close to the ground, exacerbating conditions like asthma and other respiratory illnesses. This makes breathing difficult and increases the risk of respiratory attacks. Residents rely more heavily on air conditioners and fans to cope with the heat, resulting in higher electricity bills and straining Karachi’s power grid. This leads to more frequent power outages and energy shortages.

              A US-based study has indicated that for every 1°F increase in temperature, there is a 1.5 to 2 percent increase in electricity demand. As most power plants in Karachi depend on fossil fuels, this heightened energy demand contributes to increased air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, further contributing to the ongoing global warming cycle.

              What can be done?

              Scholars have been actively exploring effective ways to improve the urban thermal environment and decrease the negative impacts on cities. Urban parks stand out among the most reliable and natural remedies for extreme heat. Studies have shown that green spaces like urban parks and roadside greenways can significantly lower surface temperatures and overall city heat.

              This is because they provide shade and evapotranspiration, creating a ‘Park oCol Island’ (PCI). Trees and plants in these areas block direct sunlight and release water vapor through evapotranspiration, cooling the nearby air and surfaces. This combination effectively reduces temperatures within parks and their surroundings, helping to counteract the urban heat island effect and regulate the nearby environment.

              However, urban planners are still exploring the best places to plant trees and their effectiveness in Karachi’s specific climate. To address the growing problem of UHI, I would like to share insights from a recent research paper by Gajani (2024), highlighting the remarkable potential of Urban Green Spaces to cool down the city and revive its vanishing biodiversity.

              This research identifies areas with the highest heat stress and locates thermal hotspots to prioritize the construction of green spaces in those areas.

              The Cooling Potential of Urban Green Spaces.

              To understand how much a green area can cool its surroundings, the study used remote sensing satellites to measure the land surface temperature (LST) across four different parks located in Karachi during the summer of 2022. LST is the temperature of the ground’s surface as measured from above.

              The author then identified the “park cooling intensity,” which is the difference in temperature between the inside of the park and the area up to 500 meters outside the park boundary. The goal was to see how far the cooling effect of the park extends and how the temperature decreases as you get closer to the park.

              Although temperature profiles fluctuate, all urban green spaces (UGS) in Karachi show a general trend of cooling. For example, the cooling effect in ‘Karachi Golf Club’ and ‘Clifton Urban Park’ extends to various distances, around 150 to 240 meters, and stabilizes beyond 420 meters for others.

              This variation is often due to the size and shape of the parks, where it has been studied that larger parks tend to have a more pronounced cooling effect.

              Researchers found unusual trends when studying the cooling potential of the city’s biggest park, Safari Park in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. Its cooling intensity values were recorded as negative. This might be due to the topography, where trees are mostly concentrated along the edges, while the central areas have limited tree coverage, leading to erratic fluctuations in recorded temperature.

              This highlights the need for urban planners and administrators to prioritize preserving and enhancing the park’s design for effective urban temperature mitigation. When planning an urban park, its size and shape should be kept as a primary factor to consider.

              This highlights the need for urban planners and administrators to prioritize preserving and enhancing the park’s design for effective urban temperature mitigation.
              This highlights the need for urban planners and administrators to prioritize preserving and enhancing the park’s design for effective urban temperature mitigation.

              Thermal Hotspots— Detection and Analysis

              To further analyze the thermal disparities within the city, researchers identified localized clusters of ‘Hotspots’ using the Getis Ord (Gi*) approach. These clusters represent areas where high LST values are grouped by other high LST values.

              Results indicate that parts of Karachi face scorching heat due to large areas of empty land with little greenery. This is especially true in Karachi West district, where neighborhoods like Mauripur and Mangopir see average surface temperatures exceeding 42°C!

              In contrast, areas with more parks and green spaces, like Karachi Central and East, have fewer hot zones and cooler temperatures.

              Planting trees and creating green spaces in these vacant areas is key to making Karachi more comfortable. This would help reduce hot zones and cool down the entire city, benefiting everyone. The good news is that areas near the Arabian Sea, like Clifton and Kiamari Town, tend to be cooler.

              This is because of cool sea breezes and the presence of the Karachi coastline’s mangrove belt. However, even these areas can get very hot during heatwaves. Buildings that are close together, poorly ventilated, and made with low-quality materials that can trap heat are making things worse.

              Location of the hot/cold spots within Karachi municipality (Gajani, 2024).
              Location of the hot/cold spots within Karachi municipality (Gajani, 2024).

              This study highlights the power of urban parks as natural air conditioners, significantly cooling down their surroundings. By strategically planting trees in the hotspot areas, we can create a targeted plan to make Karachi a cooler, healthier city for everyone.

              Educating both the public and city officials about the benefits of green spaces is key. Imagine a network of parks and tree-lined streets strategically developed in Karachi’s hottest districts, like Karachi West and Malir. This wouldn’t just bring down temperatures; it would create havens for recreation and improve our overall well-being.

              Challenges in Developing Urban Green Spaces—Expert Insights and Solutions

              According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, it is recommended that each individual living in a sustainable city has access to a minimum of 9 m² of green space, with an ideal value of 50 m² per capita. Karachi falls significantly short of this standard, highlighting the urgent need for action.

              I had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Rafiul Haq, a renowned environmentalist and expert in ecological management. During our conversation, we explored the social and technical challenges associated with developing a proper UGS system in the city.

              Mr. Haq points out that one of the primary obstacles is finding appropriate space in the densely populated city where a long-term sustainable forest can thrive. The landscape layout conflicts with existing infrastructure, buildings, and transportation networks often act as physical barriers, making it difficult to carve out sizeable green zones.

              Moreover, government agencies, NGOs, and even individuals only prioritize short-term visibility over long-term sustainability. Although there are frequent plantation drives across the city, these efforts often lack strategic planning.

              Instead of merely planting trees for publicity, the focus should be on identifying and protecting areas where a long-term urban forest can be developed. This approach would ensure the survival and growth of green spaces rather than temporary improvements.

              A greening project in Copenhagen that creates a connection between nature-based climate adaptation and recreational meeting places for the residents. (Source: europenowjournal.org; photographer Mikkel Eye)
              A greening project in Copenhagen that creates a connection between nature-based climate adaptation and recreational meeting places for the residents. (Source: europenowjournal.org; photographer Mikkel Eye)

              Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of selecting the right type of trees and the appropriate planting time to ensure their growth and sustainability. Many people are unaware of these factors, leading to ineffective plantation efforts. Karachi’s coastline also offers a unique opportunity to plant and protect mangroves, which are crucial for the ecosystem.

              Therefore, sincere commitment and vision are necessary to ensure these green spaces are maintained and protected from urban encroachment and poaching.

              He suggests creating ‘peri-urban forests’ in Karachi when asked about the way forward. These forests would be located on the outskirts of the city, where there is currently mostly barren land. These peri-urban forests would act as green buffers around the city, significantly reducing the urban heat island effect and improving air quality.

              He emphasizes that this transformation requires not only planting trees but also selecting species suited to the local climate and conditions and that proper patience is crucial as these forests need time to mature and become effective.

              As we face the escalating challenges of urban heat and climate change, it becomes clear that the responsibility to create a sustainable future lies with each one of us. Transforming Karachi through the establishment of urban green spaces is not only an environmental necessity but also a moral obligation. Robert Swan wisely pointed out,

              “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

              It is time for every citizen, planner, and policymaker to step forward, act, and commit to greening our city. Doing so can alleviate heat stress, enhance air quality, and forge a habitable environment for future generations. Let’s embrace the challenge, for a greener Karachi is a healthier, happier Karachi for all.

              References:

              • Gajani, A. M. (2024). Spatial patterns of urban heat islands and green space cooling effects in the urban microclimate of Karachi. In arXiv. https://doi.org/10.31223/X5VQ4X
              • NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Global Climate Report for April 2024, published online May 2024, retrieved on May 19, 2024 from https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/202404.
              • Eckstein, D., Winges, M., Künzel, V., Schäfer, L., & Germanwatch Körperschaft. Global Climate Risk Index 2020 Who Suffers Most from Extreme Weather Events? Wether-Related Loss Events in 2018 and 1999 to 2018.
              • Russo A, Cirella GT. Modern Compact Cities: How Much Greenery Do We Need? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Oct 5;15(10):2180. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15102180. PMID: 30301177; PMCID: PMC6209905.
              • Pakistan launches major study on the impact of heat on pregnant women and babies | Dialogue Earth. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2024, from https://dialogue.earth/en/climate/pakistan-investigates-effect-of-heat-on-pregnant-women-babies-through-major-study/
              • Mentaschi, L., Duveiller, G., Zulian, G., Corbane, C., Pesaresi, M., Maes, J., Stocchino, A., & Feyen, L. (2022). Global long-term mapping of surface temperature shows intensified intra-city urban heat island extremes. Global Environmental Change, 72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102441 
              • UN-Habitat Pakistan Country Report 2023

              More from the author: Sustainability in Astronomy — A conversation with Dr Leonard Burtscher from “Astronomers for Planet Earth”

              Beauty at What Cost?— Impacts of Cosmetic Ingredients on the Environment and Our Health

              Since time immemorial, people have celebrated the trend of adorning and decorating themselves. This practice often arises from a desire to improve upon perceived physical flaws or enhance one’s natural beauty. Cosmetics serve as tools to fulfill these psychological needs.

              Although applying various cosmetics can bring a radiant glow to the face, boosting individuals’ confidence as they feel beautiful, the hidden ingredients within these beauty products can diminish environmental brilliance and lead to associated health issues.

              Cosmetics include lipsticks, creams, powders, lotions, nail polish, shampoos, mascara, perfumes, etc. People of all ages and spheres widely use them.

              If you can't change your surroundings, change your hair color.
              If you can’t change your surroundings, change your hair color. Photo, Unsplash

              Hair Dye

              Brittany Murphy has addressed the prominence of hair dyes well, saying, “If you can’t change your surroundings, change your hair color.”

              We’re often in the habit of changing hair color according to our needs and mental state. Now, let’s delve into the hidden chemistry of hair dyes, clearly mentioning the associated adversity. 

              Coal tar, a mixture of chemicals derived from petroleum, is also used to generate cosmetics colors with a five-digit Colour Index (CI) number. The particular coal tar dye commonly used in hair dyes is p-phenylenediamine. The color concentration of the hair dye is proportional to the ratio of phenylenediamine used.

              According to the European Union, p-phenylenediamine is categorized as toxic and is fatal to aquatic organisms, causing appalling effects in the marine environment. It is known to be carcinogenic and is reported to cause pharyngeal irritation, asthma complications, and dermatitis. Other coal tar colors are also categorized as cancer-causing agents.

              Besides the main constituent, p-phenylenediamine, other dyeing agents adversely affect human health. P-aminophenol aggravates asthma, causes eye and skin issues, and promotes methemoglobinemia.

              The dye 4,5-diaminopyrazole poses eye damage and skin allergies. Pyrimidine causes eye issues and dermatitis. Resorcinol promotes problems in the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. 

              Moreover, drowsiness and dizziness are related concerns with using hair dyes, which have this component in their composition. Meta-aminophenol triggers skin sensitization, and meta-phenylenediamine causes eye and skin concerns.

              It also affects the kidneys and blood, leading to renal failure and methemoglobin formation. Pyridine, when part of hair dye, initiates irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory system and poses dizziness. Toluene-2,5-diamine induces pro- and anti-inflammatory responses.

              The presence of aluminum compounds and other heavy metals is harmful to the brain. Many dyes lack approval as food additives, yet they are still included in lipstick compositions.

              Long-term use of hair dyes can lead to developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in women. In one research study on hair dye reactions conducted in India with 110 volunteers, individuals suffered from headaches (63 percent) and itching (38 percent).

              Other chemicals found in lipstick compositions include polymethylmethacrylate, methylparaben, and polyparaben. Photo, Unsplash
              Other chemicals found in lipstick compositions include polymethylmethacrylate, methylparaben, and polyparaben. Photo, Unsplash

              Lipstick

              The most common cosmetic type to be used is lipstick, whether the lady is a makeup person or not; it is the minimum possible make-over done daily, especially by working ladies.

              Toxic elements such as Al, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sb, and Zn are found in lipsticks in excess. Some of these metals are not easily decomposed in landfills, causing pollution. The health impacts of these heavy metals are immense, and the longer the exposure time, the greater the seriousness of the side effects.

              Aluminum— Gene alterations, oxidative stress, and breast cysts. Cadmium— Skin bruises, renal failures, chronic rhinitis, and oseotoxicities. Chromium— Carcinogenic and asthma inducer. Nickel— Respiratory, reproductive, renal disorders, and carcinogenic effects.

              Other chemicals found in lipstick compositions include polymethylmethacrylate, methylparaben, polyparaben, retinyl palmitate, dyes, tocopheryl acetate, lead, propylene glycol, and methylparaben, which can cause allergies and cancers.

              In an investigation, the inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometric method (ICP OES) was utilized to evaluate the presence of eleven harmful elements (Al, Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Ni, Pb, Fe, Sb, Mn, and Zn) in fourteen lipstick samples. The hazard index (HI), hazard quotient (HQ), and average daily intake (ADD) were computed to determine the health risk assessment. Iron (Fe) had the greatest mean ADD value, while cobalt (Co) had the lowest.

              The shampoo is essential to our daily lives. As Rory Power rightly said, "Even when there's no bread, there's always shampoo."
              The shampoo is essential to our daily lives. As Rory Power rightly said, “Even when there’s no bread, there’s always shampoo.”

              Shampoo

              The shampoo is essential to our daily lives. As Rory Power rightly said, “Even when there’s no bread, there’s always shampoo.”

              The care and treatment of hair and scalp conditions often involve shampoo as a common practice. Soap was the only available hair cleanser until the first non-alkaline shampoo was introduced in 1933.

              The main environmental concern with shampoos is their biodegradation of surfactant content. As it is discharged in much smaller amounts than detergents, it is often ignored and expected to cause no irreversible environmental harm.

              However, some shampoo ingredients, such as coal tar, formaldehyde, halogenated aromatics, and musk, have been addressed as impacting the environment and health.

              Amongst the various parameters measuring shampoo safety, aquatic toxicity and biodegradability hold prime value. The active ingredients in shampoo, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, resorcinol, parabens, triclosan, and dioxane, have been reported to pose irritation and eye damage concerns.

              The nail paint extracts pose alarming risks to the aquatic environment as they are studied to be acutely toxic for zebrafish embryos. 
              The nail paint extracts pose alarming risks to the aquatic environment as they are studied to be acutely toxic for zebrafish embryos. Photo, Unsplash

              Nail Polish

              The beauty of hands is glorified through multifarious nail colors, and a complete makeup package never goes without it. 

              The leached and solubilized extracts from nail polishes are investigated to be mutagenic and cytotoxic for humans, and a much-pronounced effect is observed for the solubilized extract. The nail paint extracts pose alarming risks to the aquatic environment as they are studied to be acutely toxic for zebrafish embryos. 

              It is unknown how much of the chemicals released from nail polish disposal currently exist in the environment. Therefore, the improper disposal of nail polish may pose risks to human and environmental health. 

              Many chemicals in nail polish bottles, namely phthalates, xylene, acetates, formaldehyde, camphor, etc., may induce reproductive system disorders.

              Maurice Rousel once said, "Your fragrance is your message, your scented slogan."
              Maurice Rousel once said, “Your fragrance is your message, your scented slogan.”

              Perfumes

              Maurice Rousel once said, “Your fragrance is your message, your scented slogan.” People of all ages love a well-scented and fragrant environment. The smell of flowers, fresh grass, and aromas of all kinds, both natural and artificial, adorn individuals’ aesthetics.

              Fragrances are much-overlooked pollutants, though they accumulate in the food chain through water. Once fragrance molecules mix with other pollutants already in the air, they form irritating and allergic substances, such as peroxides and inflammatory substances, causing asthma and related problems. The respirable particles have a size range of 10 µm or less. With the addition of D-limonene in the office, the size of the molecule increases to 100 times due to accumulation. 

              The decomposition of musk compounds takes time in the aquatic environment. They function as organic pollutants by accumulating in the tissues of fish. The constituents of prime value in fragrance manufacturing are benzaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, formaldehyde, phthalates, linalool, camphor, and many more, which cause serious health concerns like kidney damage and irritation in various body parts.

              Other harmful Cosmetics

              The contents of hairspray are liable to contribute to ozone depletion. They can cause hormonal disruptions and allergies in human beings. Triclosan, present in deodorant, resides on the water’s surface and harms aquatic organisms. All the ingredients can cause respiratory disorders, irritations, and headaches.

              Blusher is dangerous to marine and aquatic organisms, with long-term side effects—the contents in the blusher cause irritations and hormonal imbalances. Face foundation contains carcinogenic ingredients, and its heavy metals are not biodegradable, leading to land pollution in landfills. The same issue applies to heavy metals, which are quite prominent in mascara and eyeliner. 

              The manufacturing processes involved in lotion generate significant pollution, and the lotion itself is non-biodegradable. Lotion may cause hormonal imbalances and irritations. Some sunscreen products are reported to affect coral reefs. The packaging waste of cosmetic products is a big challenge for many countries, posing many environmental issues.

              Final Words

              The idea of improving outward looks has been very well conceived by people of all ages around the globe. When people fight for the necessities of life, the beauty industry remains at its peak. Keeping our inner selves satisfied, we create many factors of dissatisfaction in the environment.

              Moreover, temporary improvement of looks leads to long-term and permanent health setbacks. The importance of the musts cannot be addressed, yet careful and limited exposure to these would cater to the needs of personal and environmental levels. 

              References

              • D.E. Rollison, K.J. Helzlsouer and S.M. Pinney, “Personal hair dye use and cancer: a systematic literature review and evaluation of exposure assessment in studies published since 1992.” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part B: Critical Review, 2006; 9(5): 493–500. 
              • Y. Zhang, “Personal use of hair dye and the risk of certain subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.” American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008; 167(11):1321– 1331.
              • K. H. Kim, E. Kabir, E., S. A. Jahan, “The use of personal hair dye and its implications for human health.” Environment International, 2016; 89: 222-227.
              • D. Patel, S. Narayana, B. Krishnaswamy, “Trends in use of hair Dye: a cross-sectional study.” Int. J. Trichol. 2013; 5: 140–143.
              • J. Mrmošanin, A. Pavlović, S. Miti, S. Tošić, E. Pecev-Marinković, J. Krstić, M. Nikolić, “The evaluation of ICP OES for the Determination of potentially toxic elements in lipsticks: Health risk assessment.” Acta Chimica Slovenica 2019; 66 (4): 802-813.
              • R. Kohli, A. Mittal, A. Mittal, “Adverse effects of Cosmetics on the Women Health.” In BIO Web of Conferences. EDP Sciences. 2024; 86: 01026.
              • C.C. Urbano, “50 years of hair care development.” Cosmet Toiletries, 1995; 110: 85–104.
              • R. M. Trüeb, “Shampoos: ingredients, efficacy, and adverse effects.” JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 2007; 5 (5): 356-365.
              • I. Felzenszwalb, A. D. S. Fernandes, L. B. Brito, G. A. R. Oliveira, P. A. S. Silva, M. E. Arcanjo, E. R. A. Ferraz, “Toxicological evaluation of nail polish waste discarded in the environment.” Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2019; 26, 27590-27603.
              • B. Bridges, “Fragrance: emerging health and environmental concerns.” Flavor and fragrance journal, 2002; 17 (5), 361-371.

              Also, Read: Pakistan’s Maritime Department: A promising future for the country