Senate body told sea intrusion could wreak havoc in future

Published March 21, 2019
The committee was briefed in detail about sea intrusion and fast disappearance of mangroves from coastal areas.— AFP/File
The committee was briefed in detail about sea intrusion and fast disappearance of mangroves from coastal areas.— AFP/File

KARACHI: Echoing warning of ‘super flood’ by the National Assembly’s standing committee, Senate’s Standing Committee on Science and Technology cautioned on Wednesday that if sea intrusion was not stopped it could wreak havoc in coming decades as one-third of the area of Badin and Thatta districts had already been inundated by seawater.

The warning came during a meeting of the Senate’s standing committee held at the National Institute of Oceanography. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad chaired the meeting.

“The sea intrusion has significantly altered the geography of Badin and Thatta as one-third of the territorial area of the districts has been inundated by seawater,” said a statement issued after the meeting.

“The committee was briefed by experts that sea intrusion has caused drastic ecological disturbances which, if not [addressed], could wreak havoc in coming decades. The coastal area has become highly vulnerable to wind patterns because of eradication of mangroves which act as a natural barrier between the sea and land,” it said.

The fast emerging repercussions of climate change have raised serious challenges before the government as it needs to fight at several fronts apart from the sea intrusion to save agricultural economy of the country and natural resources.

Only on Tuesday, senior government officials informed the National Assembly’s standing committee that the chances of a big flood were relatively higher this year due to higher than normal snow deposits on mountains and catchment areas of major rivers.

The committee was briefed in detail about sea intrusion and fast disappearance of mangroves from coastal areas and called for immediate measures before it was too late. It urged all institutions concerned to make concerted efforts to take the challenge head on, it said.

“The chairman of the committee has called for taking into confidence all the departments concerned, that is, ministry of climate change, provincial irrigation department, flood forecasting department and coastal development authority over the hazards of sea intrusion and climate change in the next meeting,” said the statement.

“A comprehensive report along with the committee’s recommendation will soon be sent to the federal government for implementation in order to cope with the menace,” it said.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2019

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