II. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
B. Major brown or ambient environmental problems
6. Built-up environment and urban sprawl
Perhaps nowhere else in NWFP are the adverse effects of rapidly increasing human population so starkly visible then in the cities. The cities not only suffer as a consequence of population increases among the permanent residents, but also as a result of migration from rural areas. In 1981, there were only two cities in NWFP with a population of more than 500,000, i.e., Peshawar and Mardan. As a result of the rapid development of those cities the environmental repercussions have been tremendous. The demand for sewage disposal, transportation and general utilities is rapidly increasing. Afghan refugees have further aggravated the situation. A shortage of resources has meant that the province is ill-equipped to tackle the problems of urban degradation, industrial pollution, waste generation and general congestion. That is placing great stress on the urban environment which is growing beyond the carrying capacities of the cities. But the large urban centres continue to attract people, even though they are hardly capable of meeting basic needs.
At present, the urban population of NWFP, which comprises 15 per cent of the total population in the province, is growing at 3.89 per cent per annum. The urban population of the province increased from 14.25 per cent in 1972 to 15.18 per cent (1.7 million) in 1981. In 1995/96 the urban population of NWFP was 2.978 million and it is projected to reach 3.885 million by the year 2003, an increase of 128.5 per cent since 1981. Spatially, the cities are also growing very rapidly, mainly in the form of urban sprawl, which make it very difficult to provide easy access, and basic utilities and services.