KARACHI: “The United Nations has declared 2011 as the ‘International Year of Forests Conservation’ and the Pakistan government has endorsed it. Despite this initiative, local police are supporting criminals who are cutting down mangrove forests and violating environment laws,” says a letter addressed to the President of Pakistan, Prime Minister, Sindh Chief Minister, environment ministry and other authorities concerned.
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), a non-profit organisation, has written a letter to the authorities, saying that mangrove forests along the city coast, especially in Keamari Town, are being ruthlessly mowed down by ‘influential persons’.
The organisation claimed that when activists and residents of Keamari protested, the criminals assaulted campaigners, fishermen and ransacked the PFF office, threatening them to stop their protest. The letter also stated that the criminals are being abetted by the police and they have even stopped water tankers from coming to the activists’ homes. When they tried to file an FIR against this, the Keamari Town police refused.
The letter said that the mangroves have been neglected for a long time and thousands of acres have been cut down for ‘urban development’.
“We draw your kind attention [to the fact] that mangroves need to be managed and conserved,” read the letter.
The government should initiate a project to develop new mangrove nurseries near Karachi and work on the mobilisation of local communities by enhancing awareness on the significance of mangroves.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2011.
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