KARACHI: Iqra University hosted World Environment Day on Wednesday at the auditorium of Executive Development Centre of Iqra University main campus here at Karachi in collaboration with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), University of Karachi, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, Sindh and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University, Lyari, Karachi.
Dr. Wasim Qazi, President/Vice-Chancellor, Iqra University, Karachi, in his welcome address emphasized the steps Pakistan has taken in the right direction to overcome the environmental issues. “The concerted efforts of our country’s policymakers and my fellow educationists have led to the level of awareness and the commendable projects here for which we are being appreciated,” he added.
The Chief Guest, Rear Admiral Ovais A. Bilgrami HI (M) Commander, Karachi, invited the participants to take small steps to bring change. “It is not the governments alone who has the sole responsibility to take care of the ecosystem. All of us have to play our role. Restoration activities can be done in a backyard plot, in a park in your area, a river valley. This means that everyone can get involved.”
“Global warming is a global warning that we should not take lightly,” he said adding that tree planting is an easy solution to global warming and climate change as trees reduce heat intensity and bring stability in the weather.
Therefore, to save the environment and for their and their future generations’ survival, people should plant as many trees as possible.
The Guest of Honor, Dr. Kaleem Imam IG, Motorways and Highways Pakistan, highlighted Pakistan’s recent achievements and projects in this regard. He said, “Government of Pakistan has achieved milestones and continuing its efforts to save the environment. Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Plantation (TBTTP) project, meeting the recent Bonn Challenge pledge, the successful restoration of 0.3 million hectares of forest cover in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province under the first Bonn Challenge pledge, 15 national parks along with marine protected area established under the Protected Areas Initiative, and finally the Green Financing Initiative introduced by Pakistan at global forums for Ecosystem Restoration Fund.”
Awareness about nature doubled during the Covid-19 pandemic, Kaleem Imam pointed out. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is also set to kick off. The theme for this year is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ which is relevant to Pakistan and the initiatives that the government was engaged in, he added more.
The Guest of Honor, Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh on Law and Environment, congratulated Pakistan for the honor that the UN system conferred Pakistan to be the global host of World Environment Day this year. “We have received this honor for our latest efforts towards ecosystem restoration, especially our afforestation efforts through billion (and now ten billion) tree plantations,” he added.Wahab further said the Sindh Government of will make three sewage treatment plants in Karachi functional to safely discharge wastewater of the city into the sea. “With the resumption of sewage treatment facilities, the load of water pollution on our marine environment will be greatly reduced.:
According to reports Karachi had three sewage treatment plants TP-I, TP-II and TP-3 with a combined capacity of 150 million gallons per day (mgd) but 2005 their treatment capacity had been reduced to about 50mgd. By 2015 all three treatment plants were dysfunctional and their capacity to treat sewage had shrunk to zero. Thus from 2015 onwards Karachi’s over 15 million citizens have been discharging 100% of their raw sewage into the nearest coastal waters destroying our marine life.
Executive Director SDPI Dr. Abid Qayium Suleri, University of Karachi V.C Khalid Iraqi, Sindh Agricultural University V.C Fateh Mari, Prof. Dr. Shams Hamid, Dean Faculty of Arts and Design, Education and Social Sciences, Iqra University, Dr. Asmatullah, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, Sindh Prof. Dr. Akhtar Baloch, Vice-Chancellor, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University, Lyari also addressed in the event.