KARACHI: Climate change is shrinking women’s livelihood resources and affecting their health in rural Sindh. Due to climate change implications, sowing of cotton crop and forest cover have decreased to a larger level in Sindh province, causing heavy loss to the income of women who used to generate it from picking up cotton crop and selling milk and butter received from cattle depending mostly on forests.
Women working in crop fields were hit by skin, respiratory and other infectious diseases, said Ghous Bux Pirzado, renowned environment researcher and Program Officer, Environment and Livelihood, Shirkat Gah, while referring to a research conducted by his organization, entitled “Climate Change and Women: A Study in Selected Sites in Rural Sindh, Pakistan,” here on Sunday.
Past natural disasters showed that women were the worst sufferers. During the 2010 floods, a total of 713,000 women in age range of 15-49 years and 133,000 pregnant women were affected, while floods during 2011 in Sindh also affected 3,615,203 women, he said.
Ghous said that due to climate change, grain and cotton crop had been replaced by banana, sugarcane and other commercial crops in Sindh, and as a result women had been deprived of labor facility because new crops needed low labor of men.
He said women used to earn significant livelihood by picking up cotton in crop fields across Sindh in the past, but due to climate change, farmers had quit growing cotton in several districts of Sindh, including Khairpur, Larkana and Sukkur. Resultantly, women have been deprived of their lucrative labor which they used to get from cotton crops. However, in Nawabshah, cotton crops are still grown over vast swathes, but women here have become victims of heavy use of pesticide on cotton crop. The pesticides cause skin and respiratory diseases among women.
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