Source (google.com.pk )
Today on occasion of the World Environment Day is a reminder to show our gratefulness to Mother Nature, which sustains all forms of life. This is the day to focus our thoughts and our energies to make collective efforts towards protecting the environment. It is on this historic day in 1972, the United Nations Conference on Human Environment began in Stockholm.
This year a very appropriate theme for the Environment Day which is, Green Economy: Does it include you. This is an important message to each one of us to recognise the significance of paradigm shift from the business as usual and the role each one of us can play to conserve it.
We should be proud of our country's natural bounty and unique bio-diversity. Pakistan is largely arid and semi-arid, receiving less than 250 mm annual rainfall, with the driest regions receiving less than 125 mm of rain annually. It has a diverse landscape, with high mountain systems, fragile watershed areas, alluvial plains, coastal mangroves, and dune deserts. Forests cover approximately is 4.58 million ha (5.7 percent) in Pakistan. Of these, 0.132 million ha (less than 3 percent) are coastal mangrove forests. Pakistan is divided into 18 habitat types, among them mangrove forests, which occur mainly in the Indus Delta and in a few patches westward along the Balochistan Coast.
Pakistan has rich traditional knowledge and wisdom in the conservation of nature and natural resources. Religious beliefs, culture and folklore have together treated nature and environment with sanctity. Conservation and protection of environment and love for nature have always been part and parcel of Pakistan ethos and culture.
As a chairman of KPT, I would like to say that we have traveled a long way on the path of progress and industrialisation in order to achieve better quality of life. We have accelerated the process of development without considering the adverse impact on nature and environment. The development without care for environment has posed threats to the very existence of life itself.
Now the realisation that mere progress and economic development cannot solve all our problems has increased. Development and environment should go hand in hand. Sustainable development is the new paradigm. Karachi harbour posses 1000 ha of mangroves cover at eastern and western backwaters. The vegetation cover is healthy at the later one however the former need special attention as the forest is facing lot of stresses in form of continuous flow of untreated waste water from three major drains. Encroachment is also one of the problem.
Karachi Port Trust has drawn many programmes and policies to combat these problems. Steps are being taken to preserve the mangrove pristine eco-systems through establishment of wastewater treatment plant at eastern backwaters which will be supplement to the SIII project, Wetland park providing opportunity for the nature lovers to be there and observe flora and fauna of the mangroves, remedial dredging in the china creek for its restoration. At the same time, steps have been taken for welfare of the Baba and Bhit island people, particularly the fihserfolk community by developing their jetties in their villages. KPT has also contributed to the development of the Karachi city by financially assisting the city Government in the development of infra structure such as road, flyovers and underpasses.
instance, last year custom’s revenue touched 2.5 billion afghanis, but over the past seven months of the current year, the department’s collection was only about 1billion afs, pointed out Sharif.
Most of the goods imported from China, Japan, Singapore and other countries entered Afghanistan via Karachi.
Afghan traders were also forced to find alternative routes due to the ongoing dispute between Baloch fighters and Pakistani army, because the highway cuts through insecure areas of Balochistan in Pakistan, he added.
A Kandahari trader Hajji Abdul Hadi revealed they switched to new routes primarily due to the containers piling up at Karachi Port and insecurity in Balochistan.
“Pakistani officials illegally stopped thousands of our containers and Afghan traders suffered losses amounting to millions of afghanis because perishable food items went to waste,” he added.
Traders now import their goods via Islam Qala and Torghonadai dry ports, while only Pakistani goods are imported through Spin Boldak dry port in Kandahar, he said.
Another affected trader Hajji Abdul Wahab said the road leading to Karachi was not safe to transport their goods due to highway robbers.
“A trader was importing 1,600 cartons from China through Karachi Port and 600 cartons were looted away,” he added.
If Pakistani officials provide proper facilities for Afghan traders from Karachi to Spin Boldak and guaranteed safe journey of their goods, traders would be ready to import their cargoes via Karachi again, said Sharif.