Degradation of the Indus
This refers to water pollution which has degraded the Indus River and other natural water sources. Out of 17 creeks, only one is left and millions of acres fertile land in Thatta district have been swallowed by sea.
Before construction of the irrigation infrastructure, including barrages, canals and dams, the Indus River and its tributaries, as well as hundreds of torrential streams, had their natural system. They released water in lakes and ponds as a result of which wildlife, and flora and fauna would thrive.
No doubt construction of the irrigation system unleashed green revolution, meeting nutritional needs of the burgeoning population. It also brought prosperity to the country and Sindh.
Initially, dams helped to bring more land under cultivation but several other negative factors propped up. First, the silt collected in dams slowly and gradually, leaving these water reservoirs under-utilised as they were no more capable of storing as much water as was required.
The slit, which is necessary for fertilisation of land and delta, did not reach there. The water required to check sea intrusion could not be released except during super floods.
Dams, haphazard working of the canal system, constructions in the bed of the Indus and deforestation all have contributed to the degradation of the Indus, which has been unable to check the ever-intruding sea.
Moreover, the main Nara Valley drain has destroyed one of Asias largest lakes, Manchar, having unique boat-houses.
Besides, it affected the livelihood of thousands of fishermen and almost all fish and plant species. Once abundant in quantity and exquisite in taste, Ilish (palla), is now almost extinct in the Indus.
There is a need to launch a mass campaign to save the Indus lest it dries up, and with it the economy.