Pakistan in dire need to conserve its mangrove forests: experts

KARACHI:Pakistan home to the 24th largest block of mangroves in the world and the 8th largest in Asia direly need an efficient conservation scheme for their long term sustainability, said Riaz Ahmad Wagan, the Chief Conservator, Sindh Forest Department.

Addressing the Million Mangrove Plantation Drive launched here at Pakistan International Bulk Terminal, Port Qasim Authority through the platform of Karachi Conservation, Wagan said these forests are not only crucial for Karachi’s bio-diversity but also hold tremendous economic value.

“One hectare of properly managed mangroves can annually yield 100 kg of fish, 25 kg of shrimps and 15 kg of crab meat; per hectare,” he said mentioning that the average value of the mangrove habitat comes to US$28,662 per annum.

Highly appreciative of the Karachi Conservation, a business and bio-diversity platform initiated by Port Qasim Authority, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and the private

sector, he said Sindh Forest Department particularly looks forward to the support extended by the platform for a cause critically needed by the country.

“I must mention that Sindh Forest Department has the honor of securing three Guinness Book Records in the year 2009, 2013 and 2018 for planting the highest number of mangroves sapling in a single day,” he said on the occasion.

Sharique Siddiqui, Chief Executive Officer, Pakistan International Bulk Terminal Limited and one of the founding members of Karachi Conservation mentioned that Million Mangrove Plantation Drive

was its first initiative that has been launched in collaboration with Sindh Forest Department.

“The drive aims to promote bio-diversity and environmental conservation in Karachi in general, beginning in the Port Qasim Area,” said Sharique Siddiqui mentioning that other founding members of

Karachi Conservation are Engro Foundation and Felda Westbury.

He commended the efforts of the Chairman, Port Qasim Authority, Asad Chandna, IUCN Country Representative, Mahmood Akthar Cheema and Riaz A Wagan for making the Million Mangroves Drive a reality.

Chairman Port Qasim Authority, Asad Chandna said that since the launch of Karachi Conservation launch in December 2017, the platform was taking practical steps towards the conservation of natural

resources in the city, starting with the port area.

“The platform has come forward with a strong commitment, and the members have invested a significant amount of their CSR budget in the joint initiative, he said.

PQA chairman mentioned that Karachi Conservation holds a series of schemes for conservation of mangroves as well as plantation of sapling and that these will be unfolded soon.

Referring to the issue related to the treatment of the industrial waste water, he announced that this is expected to solved within next two months time.

IUCN Country Representative, Mahmood Akhtar Cheema presenting an overview of Karachi Conservation said the platform has emerged to be as an important milestone for conserving natural habitat in the port city.

Following the presentation mangrove saplings were planted by the dignitaries and guests on Port Qasim premises.