Destruction of Sindh's wetlands in Pakistan affecting general ecology

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Islamabad, January 2 (ANI): An offshoot of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has expressed grave concern over the worsening situation of the wetlands and Indus eco-region sites of Sindh in Pakistan and said the acute shortage of water in Indus River has badly affected the general ecology of the province.

According to a report in Daily times, the members of the Friends of Indus Forum have demanded the federal and provincial governments to improve the wetlands of Sindh, particularly Keenjhar Lake, Manchhar Lake and other major lakes of the province.

The members also deplored the reduced flow in Indus River and demanded the federal government to release sufficient water in downstream Kotri, so that the important wetlands in the Indus Deltaic region could be restored.

The forum also decided to launch its position paper on water requirements downstream Kotri, which had been published recently, to sensitize policymakers on the issue.

"The degradation of wetlands, reducing forest cover, negative impacts on wildlife, reducing number of migratory and indigenous birds and worsening environment in the deltaic region are all results of reduced water flow in Indus River, therefore the only way to solve all the environmental and ecological worsening situations is to release sufficient water in downstream Kotri," said Naseer Memon, president of the Friends of Indus Forum.

According to Memon, the government has not given due attention to the situation and if these conditions continue to prevail, the environmental degradation would increase twofold in the coming days.

The members of the forum pointed out that the wetlands have deteriorated at an alarming rate, and as result, the number of migratory and local birds in these areas has declined sharply.

They said that the communities that are dependant on natural resources like wetlands have been pushed to the poverty level.

"Thousands of indigenous people were forced to migrate from their native places in search of livelihood, due to environmental degradation, but neither has there been a survey to officially calculate the number of people who migrated nor has anybody assessed their losses," they said.

The members said that the untreated effluents from Kotri and Nooriabad industrial sites have been released into Keenjhar Lake, which has affected the general ecology of the lake.

"The Keenjhar Lake is a major source of water for Karachi and there is an urgent need to stop the disposal of industrial waste into the lake," they said. (ANI)

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