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Minister inaugurates mangrove saplings plantation

Karachi, May 24, 2014 (PPI-OT): The federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Senator Kamran Michael performed the mangrove saplings plantation to inaugurate the mangrove plantation activity initiated by Karachi Port Trust to improve the marine ecosystem. He was accompanied by Chairman KPT Vice Admiral Shafqat Jawed, General Managers of KPT and other senior officials besides the school children.

The Minister Kamran Michael, while speaking on the occasion as chief guest, highlighted the importance of having mangroves plantation on coastline and announced that KPT will undertake the plantation of around 100,000 mangrove saplings in the near future.

He said that the mangroves are protection against disasters like Tsunamis and cyclones that can hit any coastline in the world we live in. He further said that mangroves also provide breeding and shelter points to various marine species.

The complex breathing roots above the surface makes network of roots where trapped sediments provides productive habitat to fish, shrimps, crabs, oysters and other animals living directly or indirectly on the nutrients from fallen mangrove leaves, he added.

Senator Kamran Michael while notifying the importance of mangroves said in a painful tone that pollutants falling in our seawaters are gradually eating up and depleting these mangroves assets of Pakistan.

He said that over the last 50 years the mangrove ecosystem has degraded a lot and that 99% of the forests found in Indus Delta are facing pressures of acute shortage of fresh water and silt supplies, marine pollution and overharvesting of fish; and the remaining 1% found in three pockets of Balochistan coast are also exposed to similar threats though the intensity is on the lower side.

He said that the eight species of mangroves found along the Pakistan coast few decades back have come down to four today. Only one of these species is dominant while others have become rare or extinct and that only 15% of mangroves in the Indus Delta are considered healthy, he added. Earlier, the Chairman KPT Vice Admiral Shafqat Jawed informed that the marine pollution we have in our seawaters is a result of industrial chemical waste which is falling in seawaters without any treatment.

He informed the audience that ingress of 400 million gallons per day of municipal and industrial waste from Karachi city is falling in seawaters through six storm drains; including Lyari River and Nehr-e-Khayyam and 13 other small outfalls serving the population, which comes to backwaters and Karachi Port. Hence we are at the receiving end, he added. He said that the port is doing its best to clean the garbage flowing inside the channel but cleaning the whole sea is not possible for the port to do alone.

It is high time that rules and regulations are strictly forced against the industrial sector and treatment plants as per requirement be speedily built to stop the garbage from falling in seawaters as such chemicals increases the presence of harmful metals and substances like mercury, nickel, tin, sulphur, etc., he added. Later, the students, along with the Minister, were taken near the mangrove forests for saplings plantation which concluded the proceedings of the day.

For more information, contact:
Chairman
Karachi Port Trust
KPT Head Office Building,
Eduljee Dinshaw Road,
Karachi-74000 Pakistan
Tel: 99214358, 99214542, 99214530-40
Fax: 99214377
Email: Chairman@kpt.gov.pk

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