Sehwan March 27, 2010:
Call to restore Manchar Lake
The Friends of Indus Forum has called for restoration of Manchar Lake and has urged the government to establish Manchar Lake Development Authority, a dedicated body. The delegation of Friends of Indus Forum including Prof. Aijaz Qureshi, Badar Abro, Dr. Ali Murtaza Dharejo, Nasir Ali Panhwar, Ishtiaqe Ansari, Dr. Altaf Abro, Sikandar Brohi, Aziz Ranjhani, Sadar Jatoi, Aijaz Sindhi, Zain Daudpoto, Shuja Qureshi, Hamsafar Gadahi, Gulsher Panhwar, Mashooq Birhmani, Shahid Panhwar, Majeed Thaheem and others visited the various parts of the Lake and met the communities. Speaking on the occasion, General Secretary of Friends of Indus Forum Nasir Ali Panhwar said that forum brings together concerned citizens, conservation activists, intellectuals and passionate individuals on a common platform for the protection of the Indus Ecoregion. The Indus for All Programme of WWF Pakistan has played an instrumental role in establishing the Friends of Indus Forum. The forum would address the multiple factors that have generated diverse threats to the natural ecosystems in which the survival of species is becoming increasingly difficult and in which people who depend on their natural resources are being pushed into poverty and despair. The Forum believes that the vicious cycle of poverty and destruction of natural resources has been exacerbated in recent years and that this trend first needs to be halted and then reversed to preserve the biodiversity richness of Sindh. He said that purpose of visit to Manchar Lake is to assess the current situation of the Lake and raise the voice to bring back its lost glory. He said WWF under its Indus ecoregion programme has selected Manchar Lake for its second phase.
The delegation deplored that water quality of the Lake has been deteriorated, which has affected not only fauna and flora of the Lake but the livelihood of thousands of fishermen and farmers around the Lake has also been jeopardized. They said that two major sources of fresh water for the Lake were Indus River and hill torrents but currently Lake is deprived to receive water from Indus, while due to reduction of rainfall hill torrents are no more source of water for the Lake. The Lake does not offer favorable habitat for the migratory and local birds due to heavy pollution of contaminated water from main nara valley drain. They said that ironically work on Right Bank Outfall drain project has been halted, as the project was meant to bypass MNV drain from the Lake, though, RBOD itself is ill planned project which is bound to affect the ecology of Jamshoro and Thatta districts. They said that Lake can be restored provided effluents of MNV drain is stopped with immediate effect and release of fresh water from Indus is ensured. They said that if feasible, treatment of MNV drain effluents before reaching to Manchar should immediately be ensured. The dredging of the Lake may be undertaken to remove pollutants from the bottom of the Lake. They said that public consultation on viability Gaj dam must be held and environmental impact assessment may be conducted. Basic facilities such drinking water, hospitals, schools and roads may be provided to the inhabitants in and around the Lake. They said that tourism and recreational potential of the Lake has not been exploited and there is not a single rest house built by the Sindh Tourism Development Corporation, where visitors can take rest. The Forum decided to develop position paper on Manchar Lake to sensitize the various stakeholders particularly the policy makers. The delegation was briefed by Abbas Khoso of Thardeep and Mustafa Mirani vice chairman of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum about the various challenges being faced by the Lake and its inhabitants and initiatives undertaken by their organizations.
For further Information:
Muhammad Zafar Khan
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