One of the biggest problems facing Pakistan is the energy crisis. There is a huge lack of electricity and gas which is used in cars as well as homes for cooking and heating in winter, as well as a severe shortage of water. Load-shedding and no power for hours is pretty normal in the summer as it is the time when electricity is used and most needed. The soaring temperatures make air-conditioners a requirement and necessity, not forgetting to mention the heatwave that happens throughout the year and the temperature of the port city of Karachi is usually warm. In 2015 about 1300 hundred people died of heatstroke and dehydration in Karachi alone. Around 2500 deaths in the province of Sindh overall. Since then the heatwaves have been recurring very frequently throughout the year. I recall having a heatstroke myself while on my way to a destination last year and power outages in such soaring temperatures make the lives of the citizens more difficult than it already is. For this reason, people who can afford have installed generators at home and workplaces but it is a huge hassle as well as extremely expensive and considering that Pakistan is a poor country, people are finding it hard to survive and make ends meet. These generators create a lot of sounds and air pollution. This is one of the things that the government must address urgently but political instability and corruption leave people no choice but to be on their own.


Image source: Pakistan Today

Gas as fuel for cars is not a feasible idea but in the late 90's the then government allowed people to install cylinders in their cars mentioning that gas is cheaper than petrol. It was a part of some short term plan and corruption. However, Pakistan is a country that lacks energy resources and gas being one is no different. As it is the gas resource is limited to provide to the residential areas, introducing it for cars is not an idea that any expert or someone with common sense would implement. Moreover, these gas cylinders installed in cars, buses and other public transport are very dangerous and a huge risk to the lives of the people. There have been dozens of incidents where the cylinders in cars burst in school vans, cars, and buses and hundreds of people have died. There is a severe shortage of gas for homes that people are finding it difficult to cook a single meal and to tackle that people, as well as restaurants and hotels, are using gas cylinders which makes everything more expensive than it already is. As it is the price of electricity and gas is high and the shortage results in people paying taxes as well as buying the commodities from outside means which makes everything costlier.


Image source: Pakistan Today

Another daunting issue facing Pakistan is water shortage. Clean drinking water is as rare as finding a diamond in the rough. For this reason, citizens are forced to buy drinking water which is a basic necessity for living and must be provided by the government free of cost or at least minimal cost. As it is a poor country only a few people can afford clean water and it is very expensive. This has also led to booming business and a vast industry of packed water bottles and cans. With giant companies like Unilever as well as other foreign brands and so many local companies selling water. They charge very high for the water and pay the minimum to the laborers. The workers are not allowed to drink the company water. I know this because we do order Nestle water bottles at home and I happened to ask the delivery man because I saw him panting once and offered water. Profiting off something so basic as water is inhumane and no efforts by the government are made. Inaccessibility to clean drinking water has led to a large number of people developing gastric issues. But the problem does not end here. The tap water used at homes is more often than not unavailable or even if provided it is very little to get by. People are left with no choice but to buy water for home-usage. This is transported in huge tankers filled with water and super pricey. Sweet water is much higher in price but if you can't afford then saline water is what you are left with which is extremely bad for skin, wastes soap, gives rash, and damages hair.


Image source: AFP

However, the issue of shortage of tap water is linked to the lack of water reservoirs and every year we see floods and waste of water during monsoon. Another factor for the shortage of tap water in the big city of Karachi is the infrastructure. The water supply lines used throughout the city are obsolete and damaged and a lot of water is wasted as a result.

We need to move towards a sustainable approach and it is not impossible to achieve that gradually. Limiting cars on the roads, introducing public transport which lack thereof, implement strict laws to ensure vehicles are in good condition especially in big cities otherwise high fines, solar panels should be made accessible and at much cheaper prices so to deal with the energy loss, ensuring a good supply of gas for homes at specific times and let people know in advance so they schedule accordingly, gradually decrease the usage of gas cars such as government giving subsidy on new petrol cars and other vehicles. In rural areas, so to keep up with the rest of the world we can provide solar panels through government and other international organizations so to have some electricity because it is pretty evident that urban cities are facing such a crisis then the issue must be more severe in rural areas.

IRENA has useful databases on renewable energy. This data can be used in trend analysis of renewable energy integration and assessments of the energy transition. Therefore, these tools are useful for activists, academics, journalists, policymakers, and students. 

Data tool download: 

Go to the page HERE

Click on the first image on the page (which is also shown above in this article). Once clicked it will download the 'Renewable Electricity Capacity and Generation Statistics' query tool which is in Microsoft Excel format. Once downloaded you can enable editing and enable content in excel. 

Data analysis: 

There are four columns to select from in the main panel,

1 - Select indicators: Generation is in energy units  and capacity is in power units 

2 - Select technologies: Can select multiple options (which is useful for graphics) 

3 - Select countries and areas: Can select multiple options 

4 - Select year/s: Can select multiple years to compare them in adjoining columns  

After selections are made there are six options asking “Select preference for row sort order and perform query”. This enables how the results are put into columns and rows in the second sheet. If you select “Indicator-Technology-Country/Area”, column 1 will show capacity/generation, column 2 will show energy technology, column 3 will be the countries/regions selected, and final column/s will automatically show the year/s. 

On the left side, there is a Select/deselect tab where you can control the “Select countries and areas” option above (column 3 in the main panel). “S” denotes Select and “D” denotes Deselect.

After selecting the “perform query” you can shift to the second sheet to view the results. Some countries may not have data.  Simply delete the rows without data and proceed to make graphs and plots. 

Additional information: 

Citation/source for referencing: IRENA (2019), Renewable Energy Statistics 2019, The International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.  

A more detailed description is here on how to use the Query Tool 

Data methodology is further described here indicating the sources 

On Thursday the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency. The number of cases has multiplied nearly ten times during the week. As at now globally around 8,000 cases have been reported. While most of the cases are reported in China, and other countries are taking additional measures to stop further spreading of the virus. WHO laid out seven steps to be taken into consideration and implement in their press briefing earlier today.

“We are all in this together, we can stop this together” a panel member declared. 

Chair of the emergency committee also spoke and claimed that the committee unanimously decided today to suggest to the Director-General of the WHO that the novel Coronavirus is a public emergency of international concern. 

“On the vaccine, we have already started, we will inform when we have more information” 

The panel declared. 


Now to the current contagion, Ralph Baric, who studies emerging viruses at the University of North Carolina. “So it sounds to me like it’s something that’s jumped from animals to humans, slaughtering of wild animals and preparation of their meat can lead to the transmission of disease. The SARS virus came to humans from civet cats, eaten as a delicacy in southern China. Ebola outbreaks — there is no belief this is one — are often linked to bushmeat preparation”. The MRISA virus which was predominantly in the Middle East may have stemmed from animals like Camels. Both SARS and the current epidemic are Coronaviruses. 

Coronaviruses represent a wide variety of viruses present in animals that can in certain circumstances jump to humans. Contact with meat from various animals sold in Huanan Wholesale animal food Market in Wuhan has been established as the likely cause of the first reported human infections. This outbreak is caused by a virus — currently known as 2019-nCoV — that belongs to the same family as the viruses that caused the SARS outbreak and which cause sporadic flare-ups of cases of MERS on the Arabian Peninsula.

There was a 23-day gap between the 1st patient presenting and the Chinese authorities informing the WHO of the outbreak. As of Jan 28, confirmed infections within China climbed to nearly 2,750 and the death toll rose to 80.

Wuhan is one of the ports along China’s Yangtze River (6397km) with ships connecting it to Shanghai & Chongqing. It is also a major hub in China’s high-speed passenger train network. With a population of Wuhan more than that of London or New York, and the latest news being that China has confirmed that this newly identified coronavirus is also transmitted from person to person- there is cause for concern. Fact that the world's largest annual human migration now being underway in China in the form of the Chinese New Year does not help. Last year, close to 7 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad for Lunar New Year, according to state media. Currently, there are several verified cases reported in international media in countries other than China. However, all governments and supporting agencies are taking possible measures to contain the situation and ensure public safety. 

As precautions, there are a few basic steps you can take. Wash your hands and keep yourself clean, avoid public spaces as much as possible, buy a mask and follow correct direction HERE on how to use them if you do go to the public (there were some reports with wrong information on how to use a mask), don't panic and make sure your family members also get this message.

Useful links: 

Centers for disease control USA

Updated WHO advice for international traffic in relation to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV