‘Promote responsible ecotourism to save Keenjhar Lake’

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The Indus for All Programme of the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P), in collaboration with the Keenjhar Conservation Network, organised a festival at the Keenjhar Lake.
Speaking on the occasion, Thatta Deputy Commissioner Dr Abdul Hafeez Sial said that the Keenjhar Lake is a vital wetland having multiple functions, including economic and social well-being of the local people.
He said that the lake is also famous for the folk story of Noori Jam Tamachi and is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Sindh.
He expressed his concern on the mushroom growth of infrastructure around the lake and said that the beauty of the lake must be preserved.
The deputy commissioner stressed the need to promote suitable fishing practises to improve the livelihood of the fisherfolk.
He said that tourists could also play a vital role in preserving the Keenjhar Lake.
WWF-P Programme Coordinator Nasir Ali Panhwar said that the Keenjhar Lake is a Ramsar site and a wildlife sanctuary, but the lake is still facing multiple threats, as several stakeholders are working in isolation.
He emphasised the need to adopt ingenerated approach to tackle the increasing environmental challenges.
He said that responsible ecotourism needs to be promoted through engaging the local communities, as this would provide alternate source of livelihood to the community and also reduce the pressure on the natural resources.
He also said that the Keenjhar Lake is a major source of water for Karachi, and, hence, it is imperative that the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board allocate at least one percent of its income for the rehabilitation of the lake.
He highlighted the need to allocate freshwater for wetlands and downstream Kotri through implementing the 1991 water accord.
WWF-P Site Manager Ghulam Rasool Khatri said that the communities of the Keenjhar Lake have been organised to undertake a number of natural resource management and livelihood improvement initiatives.
He added that nature clubs have been established in schools to sensitise the students about the environmental problems.
Hameed Palari and Adam Gandro demanded putting a stop to the disposal of untreated industrial effluent from Kotri and Nooriabad into the Keenjhar Lake.
They said that a drastic reduction in migratory birds has been reported as the lake is no more offering favourable habitat to them.
Ashraf Shah of the Fisheries Department, Bilquis Khatri and others also spoke on the occasion.
Traditional matka race, exhibition stalls, theatre, poetry and speeches on the various aspects of the Keenjhar Lake were significant features of the festival, whereas folk singer Allah Dino Khaskheli also performed on the occasion.