Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman has stressed the need to make concerted efforts to clean up water ways to avoid catastrophes.
She was speaking on Wednesday at the launch of a ‘Report on Lyari River’ prepared by the Ministry of Climate Change in conjunction with the Karachi Port Trust and Coca-Cola Pakistan.
Under the patronage of Senator Sherry Rehman, the Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with the Karachi Port Trust, brought leaders from across the country for a roundtable session, to build a coalition to clean up the Lyari River.
Held in continuation of the ‘World Water Week’ theme of #SeeingTheUnseen, the roundtable session was chaired by Senator Sherry Rehman, with Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Faisal Ali Subzwari attending as guest of honor and led by S M Tariq Huda, Chairman of the Karachi Port Trust; all of whom represented apex bodies most impacted by the report that revealed catastrophic levels of waste accumulation over the last 20 years, of which less than 2 percent is removed.
Senator Sherry Rehman, who formed a committee to lead the Lyari Cleanup Project, said on the occasion that “Pakistan has been identified as the most vulnerable to climate change as we clearly see from the present floods the country is facing. Broad-based partnerships are going to play a crucial role in ensuring that we develop solutions that can be scaled up by use of technology.”
Coca-Cola Company Pakistan Vice President Fahad Ashraf said: “We have always known that the communities in Karachi’s harbour area are adversely impacted by poor waste management, but this is not a responsibility that falls on one single entity because the quantum of the problem is too large. This is a call to anyone who cares about Pakistan’s water security to step in.”
Moderated by public policy expert, Mosharraf Zaidi, this event aimed to co-create solutions that can be used to scale up sustainable interventions, emphasize on local and international expertise. In attendance were representatives of the global NGO, The Ocean Cleanup, WWF-Pakistan, Unilever, Nestlé, Engro, the packaging alliance CORE, SEED Ventures, Indus Earth Trust and National Institute of Oceanography, to name a few.
As part of ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ and Coca-Cola’s global partnership to stem the tide of plastic waste by intercepting it in rivers around the world, they are looking to build a coalition that explores solutions to clean the Lyari harbour area.
Karachi Port Trust Chairman Tariq Huda said: “This port connects Pakistan’s northern provinces and the overall Pakistan economy to the world, and water security, therefore, is a national security issue that we must neither deny nor delay solving.”
The Environmental Scoping Study reveals that the Lyari harbour area, which was meant to be a spillway to control the flow of flood water, is now choked by waste. Every month, 9,000 tonnes of waste, including plastic rubbish, enter this river, almost entirely uncleaned.
With about 33 million people nation-wide impacted by the floods and an impending food security issue, this timely report calls for urgent and substantive action in densely populated cities like Karachi that are at a perpetual threat to urban flooding.
Recommendations from the broad-based coalition were sought, chiefly a pledge to not just recognize the problem, but also to create long-term backwards and forward linkages so the harbour area can flourish again in the years to come.
The Lyari River study can be found here:
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