Mangroves’s deforestation also needs FIR to be registered like that of pine trees killing in Balakot
Pak Chronicle Report
Mangroves are being cut down on the coastal belt of Sindh, spanning over 129 kilometre of area to use it for industrial and domestic purposes and an FIR is also needed to be registered against their chopping/killing as was the case against killing of 19 pine trees in Balakot, Maneshra.
The forest department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) recently had registered a case against killing of around 19 pine trees, both small and large, against the unknown Indian pilots. The forest department was of the view that unknown Indian pilots destroyed these pine trees by dropping payload in the forest of village Jaba. Some social activists in Karachi, Sindh believe that like pine trees, mangroves are also very important for Pakistan so another FIR is needed to be registered against known culprits who have been cutting down these trees and putting environment of the entire area in danger.
Poverty amongst the masses living on the coastal belt of Karachi is a also a reason besides so many others behind deforestation of mangroves.
Some inhabitants do this deforestation to earn their livelihood. Some local lords do it to make extra bucks and make them richer. However, the authorities concerned seemed to be playing no role against killing of forests of mangroves. This practice continues to go unchecked at the cost of destruction of ecological system. New plantation of mangroves could not prove as successful as it was supposed to be and despite setting Guinness World Record to by planting most mangroves samplings in in the area of Indus Delta, some five years ago, the results are yet to see the light of the day. These plantations were made in the areas of Kharo Chan, Thatta and some others.
On the other hand, the forest department, the police and other departments concerned seem to be failing to stop destruction of old mangroves forests.
Saami Memon, a social activist and a local journalist told Pak Chronicle that the benefits of mangroves trees are internationally recognized and attempts are also made to preserve them.
He said besides having their positive impact on environment they are also useful for fish-breeding and they also act as safety-valve against cyclones and other natural calamities.
However, according to Memon, these forests are in danger due to continuous deforestation of them which is being done on large scale from Karachi to Thatta.
“Millions of rupees are being paid to the staff of the Forest Department as salaries and other perks and privileges but the outcome of it is pathetic. When someone points out to it about the issue of deforestation of mangroves, the staff has one or other excuse to cover up its inability to stop killing of these trees,” he said.
Sometime the staff would present the excuse that the department got no boat to take action and nab the culprit red-handedly.
Sometime it would lament scarcity of staff behind its failure to stop mafia from killing mangroves,” he further said. According to him officially no data is available as how many trees of mangroves have been chopped down but approximately around 10,000 of these trees were cut down for industrial consumption during past five years.
While elaborating the reasons of cutting down of these trees he said in some industrial sectors its dry wood is used as fuel for boilers and matchsticks are also made out of it in some industries.
These mangroves are chopped down in forests and later shifted to some destination via sea route on boats. Ironically, the culprits involved in this practiced are not noticed throughout this activity by the forest department and other law enforcers.
Some influential persons in the area have divided their estates in this region and they are known as ‘Sea Lords.’
These lords take the coastal belt as their personal estate and they do whatever they like in their respective areas to serve their vested interests and killing of mangroves is one of the causalities of this lawlessness. Many mangroves have already been cut down and rest of them are in also danger and need steps on war-footing basis to preserve them. There are some persons in the areas of the coastal belt who were socially and economically nothing some 40 or 50 years ago. However, deforestation of mangroves and other trees turned out to be a massive fortune for them and now not only they are billionaires but now they also have direct access to power corridors.