Media urged to highlight hazards of sea pollution
KARACHI: Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan said that growing pollution in the sea was due to limited awareness among masses about the matter and lack of proper infrastructure.
“The media should play its role to create awareness on environmental degradation,” he said speaking as a chief guest at an event at the Sea View Beach that was held to mark the International Coastal Clean-up Day in collaboration with the IUCN Pakistan, Government of Sindh and other stakeholders, here on Saturday.
Mushahidullah said that due to fast growing population of the world, the earth surface would not be able to meet our future food requirement and thus human beings would have to turn to the oceans.
“Our coasts are turned into waste dumps. Our sea shores are stinking because of the waste dumped by us,” he lamented and urged that the coastal cleanup and beautification event must be tapped as an opportunity to transform behaviours towards cleaner, healthier ocean waters and coastal surroundings.
The Minister further said that the federal and provincial governments, NGOs, civil society organizations and individuals would have to go together to keep our coasts clean. He said that mangroves were the sanctuaries of the marine biodiversity.
Mushahidullah appreciated the efforts carried out by the IUCN in holding the event and for cleaning up the 3km beach where hundreds and thousands of people thronged every week.
He thanked IUCN Pakistan for its leading role in organizing and coordinating this mega activity. He also praised students who had come from various schools of Karachi for collecting tonnes of solid and plastic waste from the Sea View Beach on the day. He also thanked Karachi Port Trust and Sindh Forest Department, Engro Foundation, UNDP, Nestle for their financial assistance.
Syed Abu Ahmed Akif, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change and Inspector General Forests, and Syed Nasir Mahmood were also present on the occasion.
Around 1,000 students, youth and volunteers participated in the event which was aimed at creating mass awareness vis-à-vis significance of clean coasts and oceans and why they need to be protected from wastes such as plastic, which research says is found in 62% sea bird and 100% in sea turtle species, according to an IUCN statement.
In his opening remarks, Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan, thanked the Minister, participants and guests and appreciated the role played by the Ministry of Climate Change for leading the event and the other stakeholders for their support in raising awareness amongst masses on the significance of cleaner coasts.
The Minister also launched two publications by IUCN Pakistan under its Mangroves for the Future Programme titled Pakistan’s Coastal and Marine Resources and Valuation of Mangroves in PQA Indus Delta: An Econometric Approach.
Cheema briefed the media about the value of the mangroves in economic terms. He stressed on the need for mangroves protection as they are a great asset for the coastal communities in terms of the sea food that they produce.
“We need to protect our oceans because the oceans are the largest ecosystems that we have, and they are the planet’s largest life support systems,” he said, adding that “to survive and prosper, we all need healthy oceans. Oceans generate half of the oxygen people breathe.”
The organizations involved in the event included: Sindh Forest Department, UN Environment Programme; National Institute of Oceanography; Karachi Port Trust; SACEP; Engro Foundation; WWF Pakistan; Clifton Cantonment Board; Karachi Cantonment Board, District Administration, Nestle Pakistan; UNDP and National Forum for Environment and Health.