550 million gallons of toxic industrial waste being discharged into sea

KARACHI: The constant and daily discharge of highly toxic industrial effluents into Arabian Sea amounting to millions of gallons has caused serious threat for very existence and preservation of marine life and coastal areas of Pakistan.

This was stated by National Forum for Environment and Health Mohammad Naeem Qureshi while chairing a meeting in connection with International Day for Coastal Cleanup. He said that some 0.5 trillion pieces of plastic had been so far disposed of in oceans across the world, causing serious pollution and threat to sea ecosystems and marine life

Owing to this unsafe and unabated practice, millions of birds, seals, turtles, whales, and different fish belonging to 700 marine species were about to become extinct, he said. Qureshi said that situation of marine pollution had become worsened in Pakistan as several state and government institutions had been making no serious or concrete effort to reverse this alarming phenomena.

He expressed serious concern over daily discharge of 550 million gallons of industrial effluents into Arabian Sea containing such toxic elements like cadmium, nickel, different acids, and other poisonous elements being used in different industrial processes.

He said that all the four effluent and sewerage treatment plants of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board were not functioning in the city. He said that owing to the alarming phenomenon of marine pollution, different species of shrimp and fish in 20 nautical miles sea area from the Karachi’s coastline had rendered almost extinct.

The NFEH president said that such a situation had been creating serious repercussion for livelihood of fishermen living near coastline of Karachi.

He said that almost entire coastline of the Sindh province, starting from Indus Delta area till Rann of Kutch near Indian border had become seriously polluted as this 270 kilometres-long stretch of land near shoreline was under constant threat owing to constant rise in marine and coastal pollution.

He said that every year some 6.4 million tons waste was being disposed of into sea having over 60 per cent ratio of polythene shopping bags. He said that coastline of Karachi and that of surrounding areas had been under constant threat owing to sheer carelessness on the part of Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim Authority.

Mr. Qureshi said that oil spill, unsafe shipment and storage of coal, and unchecked waste and effluent disposal had caused alarming increase in sea and coastal pollution.

He said that coastal area near Mai Kolachi area in Karachi had been turned into a virtual landfill site using municipal waste of Sultanabad and surrounding areas for reclaiming land under sea. This unsafe practice has caused serious threats for mangrove forests in the nearby areas.

The NFEH president said it was a welcoming sign that mangrove forests on the coastline of Sindh had increased to 200,000 hectares as some 10 years back the mangrove forests had been on mere 85,000 hectares area. This has been made possible owing to cooperation and joint work by Forest Department and allied government and non-governmental agencies.

He appealed to the provincial government and relevant institutions to make efforts to counter the phenomena of marine and coastal pollution for conserving and promoting economy, environment, and livelihood of coastal communities. The NFEH president also appealed to people to refrain from the unsafe practice of disposing of waste into sea and on coastline of the province.

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