Mangroves were planted at a joint event to celebrate Earth Day was held at Khipranwala Island near the coast of Karachi on Saturday. The event was a joint collaboration of Mera Karachi, Caritas Pakistan, Sindh Forest Department, FARD LSO Rehri, International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] Commission on Ecosystem Management and Mangroves for Future.
More than 80 experts, stakeholders, local community representatives, government officials and students sailed from Korangi Fish Harbour to the island to participate in the event. The event included speeches from organisers and experts who shed light on the necessity of tree plantation to deal with climate change. The speeches were followed by a mangrove-planting activity in which 3,000 mangrove saplings were planted at the island by the participants.
The founder of Mera Karachi, Imran Ahmed, highlighted in his speech the role played by mangroves in preserving the coasts of Karachi, Thatta and Balochistan. He praised the forest department’s efforts for increasing mangrove cover on Karachi coast and asked other stakeholders for their contribution and support in the mission to make the coastal areas green so that the people and businesses in those areas are not adversely affected by climate change.
Coastal Forests Conservator Agha Tahir Hussain told the participants that 64,000 hectares of mangroves had been planted under two ongoing projects funded by the Government of Sindh. He added that the Sindh forest department had earlier completed plantation on 11,000 hectares under Sindh Coastal Community Project. He informed the participants that a community-based mechanism had been established for the protection of the forests and local residents were equally reaping benefits under the ongoing projects. He said two Guinness World Records related to mangroves had been achieved by the Sindh forest department, which built the country’s image in conservation efforts abroad.
Nadeem Mirbahar, the expert representing IUCN, said the mangroves were like lungs for the city that provide oxygen to residents while also offering other benefits as they function as good soil binders and treat polluted water to some extent. Moreover, they also provide habitat to birds and marine life including crabs and shrimps. He told the participants that mangroves could store more carbon than any other plant, which made them a real solution to cope with climate change and sea erosion issues. He also briefed the participants on mangrove-growing techniques.
Range Forest Officer Azizullah Rajpur and others also spoke at the event.