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KARACHI: Downstream water shortage has brought the Indus delta to an imminent colossal damage, besides reducing silt level phenomenally, experts warned the other day.

Environment expert, Nasir Ali Panhwar while addressing at an event “Indus Delta: Environmental and socioeconomic issues and solutions”, organized by Sindh Madressatul Islam University Karachi said that the water shortage of downstream Kotri barrage threatened the Indus delta that is also faced with a reduced quantity of silt to a drastic level.

He said that the Indus delta is ranked as the fifth largest delta in the world and holds 97 percent of the total mangroves forests of Pakistan. The Indus delta is facing numerous challenges such as lack of adequate freshwater flows, degradation of precious mangroves ecosystem, sea intrusion, loss of livelihood and vulnerability to disasters, he pointed out.

Panhwar said that losses to environment are large and irreparable as several habitats, ecosystems and their services are lost. Dwindling ecosystem services have seriously affected economic productivity, including decrease in Palla fish breeding and catch, riverine forest products, and loss of wildlife species, agriculture and marine fish species.

“If the process continues, many more forest, fish, bird and wildlife species may vanish soon,” he feared, suggesting that the 1991 water accord should incorporate environmental flow concept and Indus delta be declared as fifth shareholder of Indus water distribution, bedsides four provinces.

Vice Chancellor SMIU Prof Dr Mujeebuddin Sahrai Memon said that Thatta was a hub of export and trade in the region as ports were located there a century ago. “If water is released to Indus delta as per 1991 Indus Water Accord the situation can improve drastically,” he said.

Dean Faculty of Sciences Dr Syed Asif Ali, Director ORIC Dr Aamir Iqbal Umrani, Manager ORIC Dr Muhammad Afzal Chhajro, Chairperson Department of Environmental Sciences Dr Imran Chhajro, Coordinator of department Abdul Majeed Pirzada, and a large number of students were present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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