Dozens of 11-year-old students from private and public schools spent their Thursday morning cleaning the 300 metre-long Clifton coast.
They smiled exultantly as they pottered about, gathering polythene bags in their dimpled hands. “People don’t realise the havoc they are wreaking when they throw away a tiny polythene bag on the beach, it kills and just kills everything,” said a student earnestly.
The National Forum for Environment (NFEH), Saddar Town Municipal Administration and students schools participated in the cleaning that took place near Beach View Park at 10. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Sindh, sponsored the campaign.
The Scholar Academy, NJ Public School, My School, The Best School, Apex Model High School, NJW High School were some of the schools that participated. The students were very aware of their cause and had some interesting opinions on animal rights.
“We should not keep fish in pretty aquariums if we cannot let them live free in clean water,” said a girl solemnly.
EPA director Muhammad Yahya, Saddar Town deputy director Muhammad Asif Azeem, Saddar Town infrastructure officer Asim Ali and others spoke at the occasion.
They pointed out that the absence of a water treatment plant and a lack of control on industrial waste disposal has been polluting the sea. An estimated 455 million gallons of untreated sewage and industrial waste are flushed directly into the sea every day.
The speakers said that there are no scientific parameters available to asses the extent of the damages to marine life. However, turtles and many species of fish that live on coastal belt are on the verge of extinction.
“Section 144 of the criminal procedure code on sea bathing is implemented with great fervour but the police do not even dare to arrest any one polluting the sea,” quipped Naeem Qureshi of the NFEH.
He suggested that the EPA deploy special police at the seaside to watch visitors. A special panel of representatives from major civic institutions, civil society and NGOs should be put together to try people who are posing a threat to ecosystem.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2011.