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`Gum trees are ruthlessly being destroyed in Thar`

Published Jan 06, 2011 07:40pm

MITHI, Jan 6: The Sindh government is urged to take action against waderas for destruction of thousands of Camphora mukal (gugral) trees in Karoonjhar hills and other areas of Thar.

Masood Lohar, UNDP Coordinator, speaking as the chief guest said that people are spoiling their future by abusing the earth and killing living things. An activist doesn't speak of dirty river instead cleans it up, he said.

Human beings are polluting the environment by causing natural imbalances by way of their activities, he said. The government, policy makers, NGOs and communities need to create awareness among the masses regarding environmental protection, he said.

Nagarparkar is part of Rann of Kuchh and is a pristine belt where rare flora and fauna exists, said Tanvir Arif, Chief Executive of Scope.

The area is rich with Camphora or gum producing tree which is used in medicine and other industries. Worth deploring is tree's ruthless destruction by local people who apply chemicals to the axe and make a cut on tree trunk to draw entire gum which withers the tree in not more than six months, and till date some 70 per cent forest in Karoonjhar range had already been destroyed.

Forest is a source of earning for many a people of the area but the influential mafia has deprived them of it. They are also driving these people out of forest areas, he said.

Winter months are best suited for applying cut because of which scores of henchmen and workers of guglan mafia are present in Karoonjhar hills.

There is an urgent need to protect the forest of Karoonjhar hills which is part of wildlife sanctuary and sensitive and pristine ecological system. The destruction of this forest will adversely affect the already depleted biodiversity of the province.

The area comes under the wildlife sanctuary, Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1972, prohibiting any harmful human activity liable to destroying natural habitat.

Several provincial, national and international laws/conventions such as Sindh Wildlife Act 1927 (section 26), Sindh Wildlife Protection Act, Pakistan Environment Protection Act, UN convention to protect Biodiversity, UN convention to combat Desertification and UN convention on climate change are in force to provide protection to natural forest and ecology.

Ali Akbar Rahoomo, Arbab Nek Mohammad, Nandlal Lohana, Khalil Channa, Bharumal Amrani and Somji also spoke at the occasion.

Later a large number of activists of NGOs, writers, intellectuals, and Kohlis took out a rally from the press club to the DCO office, staged a sit-in demanding measures for saving gugral and other trees of Thar.