‘Million mangrove plantation’ drive launched
KARACHI: A major mangrove plantation drive was launched on Saturday under a public-private partnership at a ceremony held at Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT) at Port Qasim.
The drive was launched by Karachi Conservation, a business and biodiversity platform initiated by the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Sindh forest department with a view to promoting biodiversity and environmental conservation in Karachi.
A significant number of participants hailing from the corporate sector, government departments and non-governmental organisations were present at the programme.
Sharique Siddiqui, the chief executive officer of the PIBT and one of the founding members of Karachi Conservation, welcomed the guests and appreciated the efforts of the PQA, the forest department and the IUCN for making the Million Mangroves Drive a reality.
Other founding members of Karachi Conservation are Engro Foundation and Felda Westbury.In his speech, the PQA chairman Asad Chandna said that Karachi Conservation launched last year in December was taking practical steps towards the conservation of natural resources in the city.
Untreated industrial effluent
He informed the audience that the platform had planned some other initiatives as well, which would be materialised soon.
He also talked about the issue of discharge of untreated industrial effluent into the sea and said that the PQA was aware of its seriousness and planned to set up a waste treatment plant at Port Qasim.
In his presentation, Riaz Ahmed Wagan of the forest department mentioned that Pakistan possessed the 24th largest block of mangroves in the world and the 8th largest block in Asia.
Discussing their economic value, he said that one hectare of properly managed mangroves could annually yield 100kg of fish, 25kg of shrimps and 15kg of crab meat per hectare. The average value of the mangrove habitat came to $28,662 per annum.
Furthermore, he said that the Sindh forest department had the honour of securing three Guinness Book Records in 2009, 2013 and 2018 for planting the highest number of mangrove saplings in a single day.
Presenting an overview of Karachi Conservation, IUCN country representative Mahmood Akhtar Cheema congratulated members on setting up the platform which, he said, had brought together various companies for a cause.
He also appreciated the role of the forest department in making the drive possible and lauded the staff for investing time, effort and expertise to make the day a success.
At the closing of the ceremony, mangrove saplings were planted by the dignitaries and guests at Port Qasim.