Feburary 02, 2012
Thatta: World Wide Fund for Nature, (WWF) Pakistan’s Indus for all Programme observed world wetlands day at Keenjhar Lake, Thatta. The event was attended by government officials, NGOs representatives; media persons and students from nature clubs.
Speaking on the occasion, Mohmmad Ali Shah, Chairman Pakistan Fisher folk Forum said that wetlands are heavily dependent on River Indus for water. He said that agriculture sector is given more attention as compare to wetlands. He said wetlands should be treated on equal footing as agriculture sector. Highlighting significance, he added that wetlands provide food, fiber, generate income opportunities for the local people. He said that loss of freshwater flow and consequent saltwater intrusion has affected the ecology and inhabitants of the Indus Delta, which is also one of the Ramsar sites. He further said that wetlands have been made dumping ground for the untreated industrial and domestics waste water. He emphasized number of threats confronting wetlands of Sindh such as unavailability of water, careless attitude of concerned departments, mismanagement and overexploitation of available resources. He appealed to the fishermen community to adopt environmental friendly fishing practices. He lauded the involvement of students in raising awareness through paintings, tableaus, story writing and speeches.
Nasir Ali Panhwar, Programme Coordinator WWF said that Pakistan is well endowed with a wide variety of wetland types located from mountains to coast, with over 225 nationally significant wetlands. He said that without adequate water to maintain the wetlands, they will disappear. In Sindh, he added that 12 out of 42 natural wetlands have become completely dried up and the rest are becoming more water depleted. At Haleji Lake, he said that conditions have been worsening as a result of water shortages, sedimentation, spread of aquatic vegetation, and loss of the wetland as a sanctuary for migratory water birds. He said that out of 19 Ramsar sites in the country ten are located in Sindh. He deplored that situation of Ramsar sites in Sindh needs serious attention and management plan may be developed to conserve the wetlands. He said that Keenjhar being important source of water for Karachi should be made pollution free and urged that Karachi water & sewerage board should allocated at least one percent of its income for the revival of Keenjhar Lake and well being of its inhabitants. He said that responsible eco tourism should be promoted which will generate livelihood for local communities.
Taj Muhmmad Shaikh, Deputy Conservative Sindh Wildlife Department Hyderabad said that the department is trying its level best to enrich the biodiversity and taking several measurers for protection of the wetlands and wildlife in the province. He said that wildlife department needs cooperation and support of community in saving wildlife particularly threatened species.
Writer, Rasool Bux Dars said that tourism potential of wetlands is still untapped in this part of the world. He said that industrial effluents of Noriabad and Kotri SITE areas is drained into the Keenjhar Lake, While foreign dignitaries are given permits for bird shooting and wildlife hunting. He also said that unauthorized fishing nets should be banned on immediate basis.
Gulab Shah of Pakistan Fisher folk Forum said that water is the natural asset that should be properly utilized and all people should benefiti from it. He said that migratory birds are disappearing at fast pace that must be addresses on urgent basis. Abdul Raoof from Environmental Protection Agency, Ghulam Rasool Khatri, Irshad Ali Gandro, Bilqees Khatti and others spoke on the occasion.
Paintings were displayed by the students of nature clubs formed by WWF, depicting the beauty of wetlands, birds, plants and other natural bounties. These paintings conveyed messages regarding conservation of the wetlands. Story competition was held among students regarding different environmental themes to highlight the issues confronting wetlands in Sindh. They also presented tableaus and poems and prizes were given away to winning students..
For further Information:
Nasir Ali Panhwar
Programme Management Unit - Karachi
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