Pieces of plastic kill shark, catfish
KARACHI: Fishermen at sea have recently caught fishes entangled in some plastic material that seemed to have caused their death, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) reported on Saturday.
In the first incident, Captain Mahar Gul, fishing 160 nautical miles south of Astola Island, Balochistan, found a spot-tail shark entangled in a polythene bag.
“The deep cuts on its skin and associated inflammation indicated that the shark became entangled in the bag, which caused its slow death,” he said.
In the second incident, Captain Noor Mohammad, fishing 135 nautical miles southwest of Karachi, found a giant catfish in his net. Upon taking a closer look, he found a plastic strap around the head of the dead fish,” a WWF-P press release stated.
Mohammad Moazzam Khan, technical adviser on marine fisheries working with the WWF-P, said that these incidents were a grim reminder that the increasing plastic pollution had reached our offshore waters and was killing marine life.
“Plastic pollution along Pakistan’s coast is a major concern and is worsening because we don’t have a proper solid waste disposal system in the city. Most plastic pieces entering the sea become a serious threat to marine life due to their non-degradable nature,” he said.
Studies carried out by the organisation, he said, had revealed that 65 per cent of litter that reached the coast included plastic products, such as mineral water bottles, caps, polythene bags, balloons, wrappers, shoes, broken utensils, styrofoam and discarded fishing nets.
It is estimated that globally about eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the sea or finds its way there through wind or flow of rivers and urban runoff. This is about equivalent to dumping a garbage truck into the marine waters every minute.
According to a statement submitted by Sindh Solid Waste Management Board to the Supreme Court’s water commission led by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro, about 12,000 tonnes of garbage is generated daily in Karachi, of which only 40pc is collected and taken to the dumping site whereas the remaining garbage mainly reaches different drains or is burnt locally.
“It’s sad to see that Pakistan’s beaches are now littered with all kinds of waste. There is a need to keep them clean, create awareness as well as to have a proper waste disposal system,” said Dr Babar Khan of the WWF-P.