KARACHI: The Sindh chief secretary on Saturday informed the Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation in the province that a task force had been formed to take measures to minimise marine pollution.

He further said that the secretary for fisheries was the chairman of the task force/working group while other stakeholders from the provincial and federal governments would be its members.

Head of the commission retried apex court judge Justice Amir Hani Muslim decided to visit the identified places that needed to be cleaned immediately with all stakeholders on Monday.

On June 26, the commission had summoned senior officials of Pakistan Navy, Karachi Port Trust (KPT), provincial chief secretary, secretary for Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and other senior officials over marine pollution.

Cleaning of fish harbours to involve federal and provincial departments irrespective of their domains

Officials of the PN, KPT, Port Qasim Authority, Karachi and Korangi fish harbour authorities, Karachi Sewerage and Water Board, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, TDAP, secretary for environment and alternative energy, secretary for livestock and fisheries and others were in attendance during a meeting held by the commission at the Sindh High Court on Saturday.

The participants discussed the issue of marine pollution and related concerns such as discharge of municipal and industrial waste across West Wharf and Karachi and Korangi fish harbours.

The commission observed that these issues, almost unchecked, had caused significant damage to marine life, shipping industry and considerably reduced fish export.

During the deliberations, Chief Secretary Azam Suleman Khan informed the commission about setting up of the task force/working group and said that it would take steps to minimise marine/shoreline contamination.

Keeping the enormity and multiple dimensions of the task in view, the commission said that the chief secretary and the relevant secretaries of the federal government should jointly take lead and formulate a way forward.

The roadmap so proposed will include remedies for all the marine pollution issues, including Karachi and Korangi fish harbours, it added.

Order of priorities

In the order of priorities, the commission has decided to get the Karachi fish harbour and thereafter the Korangi fish harbour cleaned and said that all the federal and provincial departments, irrespective of their domains, would join in for this objective.

The commission ruled that in the first phase, emphasis would be placed on cleaning the fish harbours and then or simultaneously the issues relating to dumping of solid waste into the sea, untreated industrial effluent and municipal sewage falling into the sea would be checked and stopped after getting proper treatment facilities in place.

It further observed that the commission had already taken steps in that direction and some of the required facilities were in the execution phase.

It was once again emphasised that all the departments/ministries would be participating in this task of eliminating sea contamination and cleaning the areas in question while the whole exercise would be supervised by the commission itself, it concluded.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2018