Karachi Conservation, a business and biodiversity platform initiated by Port Qasim Authority, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and the private sector, organized the launching ceremony of its first initiative, a Million Mangrove Plantation Drive in collaboration with Sindh Forest Department, at the Pakistan International Bulk Terminal at Port Qasim Authority today.
The drive aims to promote biodiversity and environmental conservation in Karachi in general, beginning in the Port Qasim Area. A significant number of participants hailing from the corporate sector, government departments and NGOs were present for the occasion.
Mr. Sharique Siddiqui, Chief Executive Officer, Pakistan International Bulk Terminal Limited and one of the founding members of Karachi Conservation welcomed the guests and commended the efforts of the Chairman, Port Qasim Authority, Mr. Asad Chandna, Mr. Riaz Wagan of the Sindh Forest Department, and IUCN Country Representative, Mr. Mahmood Akthar Cheema for making the Million Mangroves Drive a reality. Other founding members of Karachi Conservation are Engro Foundation and Felda Westbury.
In his remarks, Chairman Port Qasim Authority, Mr. Asad Chandna said that following Karachi Conservation’s launch in December, 2017,“the platform is 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 informed the attendees that the platform has some other initiatives in the pipeline as well, on which work will soon begin. He also said that the problem of the treatment of the industrial waste water would be solved approximately within the next two months.
In his presentation, Mr. Riaz Ahmed Wagan mentioned that Pakistan possesses the 24th largest block of mangroves in the world, and the 8th largest block in Asia. While discussing their economic value, he said that 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, the average value of the mangrove habitat comes to US$28,662 per annum. Furthermore, he said that the 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.
While presenting an overview of Karachi Conservation, IUCN Country Representative, Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema felicitated the platform’s members on this important milestone on the way to firmly establishing the platform as a practical and unique means of bringing together businesses in common cause. Mr. Cheema also appreciated the role played by the Sindh Forest Department in making the drive possible, and the time, effort, and expertise that the department had put in to make the day a success.
He also commended the services of the Chief Conservator Forest, Government Sindh, Mr. Riaz Ahmed Wagan for his tireless efforts for conservation and protection of mangroves along the Sindh coastal areas.
At the closing of the ceremony, mangrove saplings were planted by the dignitaries and guests at Port Qasim.
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