Waste Dumping Dilemma at Karachi Coast

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Pakistan is located on the ideal location on the map having a long coastal belt of more than 800 kilometers with the Arabian Sea that stretches from Sindh all the way to Baluchistan. Karachi, the center of business activity, is located on the same coast with two sea ports at each end of it. With rapidly growing population and industrialization in the city and adjourning areas the Arabian Sea along the coast suffers the most.

Imagine the amount of waste being dumped in the sea each day from the Karachi Coast. Thousands of industrial units of textiles, leather tanneries, rubber, plastic, pharmaceuticals, chemicals operating in Karachi’s wide spread industrial zones, not just produces simple waste but toxic/ poisonous waste which is seriously harmful to life. All this waste straight away goes down in the Arabian Sea untreated.

Then, take the rapidly growing population of the metropolis with great demographic change and influx of IDPs in the city, populations has jumped crossed whooping 22 million in the city. Human life produces human waste which has gone unnoticed with the development of the infrastructure, eventually all this sewerage goes down in the sea untreated as well.

In addition, more pollution of same kind for the sea comes from up-country’s agriculture and industrial zones through Indus River. Mangroves that served as filter and breading grounds for the marine life are also disappearing rapidly; illegal cutting is on the high to further plunge the natural habitat.

According to one of the report “350 million gallons of raw sewage and untreated industrial waste flows into the Arabian Sea from Karachi every single day — an amount enough to fill 530 Olympic size swimming pools”.

Having interest in fishing, we often go for it from different points of the coast. Most of the villages along the coast are fully associated with fishing from generations. People, whom I met there, are concerned about the degradation of the coast affecting their life. According to the locals there is no fish at the shore in fact they have to travel five six hours deep in the sea to catch the worthy fishes, adversely affecting their lives and giving them tough times to survive even, that’s why our people are now moving towards cities to find other work to earn bread and butter for their families. .

All this waste dumping has not just been eroding marine life but also giving birth to different diseases among the fishermen and the villagers living along the coast. Diarrhea, scabies, gastric and skin problems are frequently reported diseases there.

Government of Pakistan must work to regulate dumping of waste in the sea, environment department must understand the seriousness of the issue and it should formulate guidelines or an act to give clear instructions of what kind of waste, how and where it is to be dumped. Waste treatment plants should be installed to treat the sewerage and industrial waste before dumping it in the sea. Other countries are already working on it to safe marine life and environment like the “Sea Dumping Act” and “Environment Protection Regulations” of Australia which was passed back in 1981 and 1983 respectively and they keep on reviewing it. It’s never too late Pakistan must step up to safe the marine life and environment of its coast.

Corporate, melting billions of rupees, should also show social responsibility and take necessary steps on their own to at least treat the toxic/ poisonous waste before dumping it in the sea. It’s everyone’s responsibility to save the environment not just of government. Fishermen and the pleasure seekers going out in the sea should also avoid throwing waste in the sea like plastic bags, bottles, cans, paper stuff etc.

Together we can save the environment and enjoy the nature at its best form. Feel the responsibility and act accordingly.

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is a business graduate, working as a professional banker. He takes keen interest in the economics and socio-political affairs of Pakistan. Moiz Khan tweets @moizkhans

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