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Access to Environmental Justice: Karachi's Urban Poor and the Law

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the events which made Karachi to one of the poorest and most polluted cities on earth. It also examines the legal structures surrounding the access to infrastructure, services and environmental resources. The chapter attempts to tackle the central question, namely to what extent, if at all, law constitutes a meaningful gateway to access to environmental justice for Karachi's poor. Informal settlements gradually consolidate into suburbs which are often superficially indistinguishable from their legally developed neighbours. The gradual recognition that formal, planned housing developments were unlikely to empty Karachi's slums lead to a rethink of policy. Environmental law, as understood in the more narrow sense of specific laws designed to achieve and maintain certain environmental conditions especially in respect of air and water quality, has had a very slow start in Pakistan.

Keywords: environmental justice; housing developments; Karachi's poor; Pakistan



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