Experts urge authorities to priorities marine life preservation
Karachi: It is the collective responsibility of the State and the society to not only ensure protection of land, air and water from pollution but also raise awareness among masses regarding consequent hazards.
These views were expressed by Waqar Ahmed, an official of the Sindh Environmental Protection Authority (SEPA) on Thursday at a seminar titled ‘Impact of Environmental Hazards on Maritime Life and Security’ organised by the Rabita Forum International to mark the annual World Environment Day.
Dilating on various aspects of water usage in Pakistan, he said the country primarily used water for agriculture, domestic, commercial and industrial purposes. Ahmed was of the opinion that water conservation methods needed to be adopted at large and proposed strict regulation of water usage in industries.
Lamenting the country’s inability to create dams while India constructed thousands, he stressed the need for water harvesting on township level. “If a private company like Bahria Town can build water harvesting projects then why can’t it be done on a larger scale?”
He called for implementation of innovative irrigation methods where water usage was minimal as compared to the practiced flood irrigation methods.
University of Karachi (KU) Institute of Environmental Sciences Professor, Umme Haani, in her presentation on Marine Pollution and Economic Loss spoke of how environment and economics were interlinked.
“Any environmental degradation on the coastlines directly affected chances of economic productivity,” she maintained. Haani also expressed fear of more detrimental effects for the marine life in the wake of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Home to around 18,000 fish species, Haani stated that out of them over 60 were exported; however, Pakistan could have earned $50 million annually had European Union not imposed ban on fish exports from the country due to unhygienic conditions the fish products were being handled in; the ban caused annual fish exports to fall down to a staggering seven percent in the year, 2011.
KU Centre of Excellence in Marine Biology Director Jamal Siddiqui focused on the major sources of water pollution. Dr Azhar Mashiatullah, head of the Isotope Ecological Research Group at the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), claimed that nuclear power plants were safe for marine life and environment.
“The K2 and K3 nuclear plants were designed keeping in consideration the possibility of earthquakes and Tsunami,” he said. According to Dr Mashiatullah a single tsunami wave could reach up to 7ft whereas the plants were constructed at a height of 12ft. Advisor to CM on Inspection, Inquiry and Implementation Haji Muzaffar Ali Shuja presided over the event.