Mangroves plantation near Keti Bunder to check sea intrusion

from DAWN Group of Newspapers
Published on 23 May 2013 View Original

THATTA, May 23: A large number of environmentalists, along with other civil society activists, representatives of growers’ organisations and people associated with the forest conservation and management took part in plantation of mangroves on Khedewari island, located along the Keti Bunder coastline in connection with the international day of biodiversity observed on Wednesday.

Several hundred plants of ‘rhizophora mucronata’ mangroves were planted during the daylong activity at the site, where 451,176 mangroves saplings were planted on July 15, 2009 to create a record and win the Guinness Book of World Records recognition. The forest department now plans to plant at least 650,000 saplings within a day to break the record credited to India.

The tree plantation drive was organised by the Sindh forest department in collaboration with the National Bank. Participants in the drive spent almost the entire day on the Khedewari island and also visited nearby islands.

Sindh chief forest conservator Riaz Ahmed Wagan told the participants that in view of the ecological significance of mangroves and in the context of the 2005 tsunami in South Asia, this particular area on the coastal island had been earmarked for mangrove plantation.

He said that the Sindh forest department had established a mangroves plantation on 15,000 hectares, including a nursery, in the city of Keti Bunder to attract eco-tourism and to benefit the local fishing community.

Briefing the participants, Agha Tahir Hussain of the Conservation, Development and Management of Indus Delta Mangroves said that mangroves were vital to check sea intrusion. Though the super floods of 2010 wreaked havoc upstream, he said, it expeditiously nourished the delta region. Riaz Nawab and Nafeesa Gill affiliated with an international welfare organisation and other participants stressed the need for promoting eco-tourism and launching of a ferry service between Keti Bunder and Karachi in this regard.

They said that establishing wildlife sanctuaries would also help generate revenues. They lamented that the islands which were earlier known for cultivating red rice were now bereft of any vegetation. However, they said, the region had tremendous potential for eco-tourism.

Developing basic infrastructure and releasing at least 35MAF (million acre feet) water from the Indus river was essential to attain the goal, they added.

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