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Pakistan has a varied topography, hosting coastal beaches, lagoons, and mangrove swamps in the South as well as sandy deserts, desolate plateaus, fertile plains, dissected uplands in the middle, and high mountains with beautiful valleys, snow covered peaks, and eternal glaciers in the North. Given the diversity of the landscape, dense population, and one of the highest population growth rates of the region, Pakistan is further imperilled by land degradation and pollution threats. These environmental challenges need to be addressed, since the economy is dependent on the country’s natural resources. These challenges are grouped into two broad categories: 1. a combination of poverty and population growth, which leads to the over-exploitation of natural resources, and 2. the largely unplanned increase in industrialization and urbanization, which has led to the pollution of water, air, and land. The poor are disproportionately affected by this environmental degradation as well as by a lack of access to clean, affordable energy. Thus, water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff, limited natural freshwater resources (leaving a majority of the population without access to potable water), deforestation, and desertification, salinity, over grazing, and soil erosion are the major environmental threats facing Pakistan.

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