Climate change minister says city’s shoreline being treated as dustbin
Addressing a ceremony held at Karachi’s Seaview beach to mark International Coastal Cleanup Day, Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan on Saturday regretted that people had turned the city’s shoreline into a garbage dump, while millions of gallons of untreated sewage and industrial effluents were being regularly discharged into sea.
The Ministry of Climate Change organised the event in collaboration with the Sindh Environmental Department, the UN Environment, the Karachi Port Trust, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the Engro Foundation, and the National Forum for Environment and Health.
Speaking on the occasion, the federal minister said that Coastal Cleanup Day was being observed in 125 countries across the globe, with 20 million people participating in activities similar to the ones organised at the city’s Seaview beach.
He said Pakistan needed modern technology being used by other countries for treating sewage water and industrial effluents before their discharge into sea so to lessen the phenomena of marine pollution.
He said marine resources of the country had to be conserved and protected for the upcoming generations as oceans would become a major source of food for mankind with fast occurring climatic and environmental changes.
The federal minister said he didn’t want to go into detail as what had gone wrong in the last 25 years that caused an alarming increase in marine pollution but at present the provincial government was responsible for reversing the phenomena of environmental degradation within 12 nautical miles sea area from the coastline.
The authorities concerned were doing nothing to mitigate the situation as even sewage water was continuously being released into sea without any treatment, he added.
Khan said marine life and ecology related to Pakistani coastline was being subjected to constant cruelty. “I use to say to people who live in coastal areas that they should stop by force anyone found involved in tree cutting as destruction of our coastline means our very own destruction,” the minister said.
He said the federal government was available to lend any support required for restoration of the natural beauty and charm of the Pakistani coastline.
He said a lot of effort was required to promote public awareness for the cause of environmental protection as the media had to play a proactive role in this regard and for such a reason the media was rightly considered as the fourth pillar of the state.
He said that concerned experts and scientists were of the viewpoint that very soon marine resources would become the biggest source of food for mankind once usual agricultural practice of crop cultivation on land would not be sufficient to produce enough food resource to feed constantly increasing human population in the world.
He said coastal areas had to be made pollution free for upkeep of marine life, environment, and ecology.
Everyone was required to play a role for keeping the country’s shoreline free of pollution, he added.
Those who attended the event included federal climate change secretary Abu Ahmad Akif, inspector-general for forests Syed Mahmood Nasir, IUCN country representative Mahood Akhtar Cheema, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sindh leaders Munawar Raza, Ali Akbar Gujjar, and president of the National Forum for Environment & Health, Naeem Qureshi.