Beach Pollution

About 71% of the surface of the earth is surrounded with water. Around 90% of the life on earth is due to water.   However, its importance is not realized by most of the people around. 60% of the oxygen we breathe is generated by oceanic flora. Hence, it is really important to keep these oceans hygienic. Almost around 60% of the CO2 (carbon dioxide) is absorbed by these oceans as well. Massive amount of resources such as precious metals, minerals, salts, oil, gas are drawn out of the seas for economic purposes. UNESCO supported the fact that oceans through fishing/seafood industry supports the livelihood of 820 m people. Pakistan’s polluted coast lines are demonstrating the devastating consequences of humanly activities. Clifton beach in karachi is one of the highly polluted beaches in Pakistan. A study carried out by WWF–Pakistan revealed that 50% of the plastic pollution in and around the coastal areas of Karachi is beach trash. A 2016 study conducted by the NIO in Karachi, showed presence of pathogenic bacteria at nine sites along the coast. The study based on the analysis of sediments, water, flora and fauna found the Korangi creek station most polluted with coliform and other pathogenic bacteria. It also specifically mentions beach spots, where coastal water was found to be contaminated with domestic and industrial effluent. And by 2020, the situation has gotten worse Karachi produces around 500 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater. Around one fifth of water comes from these industries, while the rest is the domestic or municipal sewerage. Almost the entire sewerage and industrial waste water goes into sea without treatment, which has brought a natural disaster, as we are losing our fish catch and also it is affecting marine life. We should put efforts on our individual levels to clean the environment of beaches. As in our religion, cleanliness is half of faith. We must support cleanliness initiatives. We must stop excess plastic throwing so the marine life can be saved. We must urge everyone around to realize the strategic, economic, importance of these waters and raise awareness regarding the health, economic implications of polluted oceans/ beaches in Pakistan.

 

Written By: Mahnoor Ashraf

Mangroves and their Importance

If there are no mangroves, then the sea will have no meaning. It’s like a tree with no roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea! Mangrove trees are salt tolerant and have an appearance of a bush. They strengthen in zones of tropical and subtropical localities. There are more than 15 million mangrove timber plantations around the world. Mangroves are said to have immense economic and ecological importance. Pakistani mangroves are located mainly along the delta of the Indus River. Some of the main mangrove forests are found on the coastline of the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan.


There are hundreds and thousands of people that depend on the mangrove natural environment for living. Since the past few centuries, mangrove trees have been of use for humans for getting fuel, timber, fodder for animals. Unfortunately, since the last five decades, the mangrove environment in Pakistan has been the victim of urbanization, and over exploitation and as a result, is fading very quickly. The amount with which it is being destroyed is discrepant with its actual value. Mangroves hold immense biological diversity. They are a source of food, nesting and nursery areas for most animals. These animals include more than 200 species of fish, 20 species of the reptile and amphibian family, more than 150 bird species and 15 mammal species. If mangroves are removed, we will find most of these species to become extinct since their source of survival has been destroyed. In turn, humans will also be affected indirectly as mangroves are also our source of food and water. One of the major roles of mangroves also lies role in areas that are prone to tsunamis. Mangrove forests lower the devastating impact tsunamis can have on coastal areas. They do so by absorbing some of the waves’ energy. As a result, the damage to properties in these areas is quite low.


When we destroy mangroves, we not only destroy the species along with their natural habitat, we destroy the complementary service that mangroves provide us with in difficult situations. With mangroves being destroyed, there will be a higher rate of floods and problems in water quality. Thus, the need to conserve mangroves arises. In order to prevent the destruction of mangroves, we need to consider certain steps such as afforestation, monitoring on a regular basis, soil conservation and legislation with laws and policies. Also, schools should be educating their students regarding mangroves and their importance as it is always better to look deep in to nature in order to understand everything better.

Written by: Maria A Mushtaq

Living in quarantine: A threat against the COVID-19 or a message for humanity?

The world has evolved over centuries. This evolvement has led to various developments which have resulted in modernization. On the contrary, it has been through one of the darkest events in history. We have studied these events in different forms, but what felt as stories now seem like reality. November 2019, the world witnessed its first case of COVID-19, commonly known as the “Coronavirus” which is a group of viruses that attack the human respiratory system. What has shocked the world the most is its aggressive nature to spread easily from one person to another. Surprisingly, an individual who may be a carrier of the virus may not be aware and can transmit it to a healthy individual. 

Unfortunately, Pakistan fell victim to this virus towards the end of February 2020. When the first case came out, no one would have been able to predict how much it would consume humanity physically and emotionally. No one expected the forceful lockdown of public places along with schools and universities and now also workplaces putting our lives to a halt. Holidays do not feel like holidays, with daily wagers being the worst victims as they have been struggling to make ends meet with no one to sell goods to or work for throughout the day. Moreover, board exams have been cancelled and some postponed further leaving the students who had been preparing for them since months in shock. Summer vacations have been re-scheduled, or they say this quarantine period is “the vacation”. All weddings, events and flights from and in to Pakistan are being cancelled.
Amidst this entire hustle, what most of us have somewhat realized is the significance of humanity and its relations with the society. For the first time in history, the feelings of unity are being felt globally as it is a “global pandemic”. 

 

The virus feels like a threat, but looking at the brighter side, it has brought us all close to one another. All around the world, people are facing a lockdown along with the same combination of emotions. Sitting at home all day, we have realized the pain of prisoners. Those sitting away from their homes are starting to realize the pain of innocents being forced out of their homes. The roads are all clear, including the populous streets. But one thing is for sure, the earth is and will get greener day by day, the river banks will soon be full and humanity will soon embrace!

Written By: Maria A Mushtaq

CORONA: A GLOBAL PANDEMIC

We all know that the world is going through testing times. All the global and local activities have come to a halt. The sole reason behind all this crisis is a viral disease caused by a novel coronavirus “COVID-19”. It is an infectious disease which primarily spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, the infected people show different symptoms including fever, dry cough, tiredness and shortness of breath etc. The disease can have baneful effects on older people and the people with underlying medical problems like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease.


Let’s dig into the spread of this pernicious virus. It all started from a wet market in Wuhan, China, a city of around 11 million people and a transportation hub. The few cases in Wuhan grew to dozens by the end of December. The timing of the outbreak could not have been worse. Hundreds of millions of people were about to travel back to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year. At least 175,000 people left Wuhan just on 1st January, the egress escalated over the next three weeks. About 7 million people left Wuhan in January, before the travel was restricted. Thousands of travelers were infected. By the time Chinese officials acknowledged the risk of human-to-human transmission on Jan. 21, local outbreaks were already seeded in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities. Travel across China nearly stopped in the next few weeks but the local outbreaks were already multiplying swiftly. As the outbreak moved across China in early January, international travel continued as normal.

 

Thousands of people flew out of Wuhan to cities around the world. The first known overseas case appeared in mid-January, a 61-year-old woman who traveled from Wuhan to Bangkok. About 85% of the infected travelers went undetected and were a grave risk of contagion. It was only at the end of January that Wuhan was placed under a lockdown and airlines started canceling flights. But it was too late. Outbreaks were already growing in over 30 cities across 26 countries, most seeded by travelers from Wuhan. The virus started spreading locally, moving easily in confined spaces like mosques, churches and restaurants, and infecting people who had not traveled to China — the start of a pandemic. By March 1, thousands of cases were reported in different countries across the globe. China was no longer the main driver of the outbreak.


At this time, there is no specific vaccines or treatment for COVID-19. However, washing hands properly and maintaining social distancing is proving efficacious in impeding the spread of this disease.

 

Work Cited:
Wu, Jin, et al. “How the Virus Got Out.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Mar. 2020

 

Written By Hammad Iqbal

Water scarcity; a nightmare for Pakistan

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Water, the most basic necessity of life without which there would be no life on earth, is getting scarce in our country day by day. Despite having one of the largest glacial resources, water shortage is becoming a nightmare for Pakistan. Its shortage is hitting such an alarming level that experts say PAKISTAN could run dry by 2025. According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan ranks third in the world among countries facing acute water shortage. Reports by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) also warn the authorities that the South Asian country will reach absolute water scarcity by 2025.

There are a number of reasons behind this scarcity, but the main reason is lack of dams and water reservoirs. According to reports, Pakistan’s total dam storage is only 30 days of average demand whereas the figure is 1000 days for Egypt,900 days for America and almost 220 days for India. Pakistan loses most of its water because of this storage problem. Other reasons behind this crisis include domestic wastage of water, rapid growth of population, climate change and poor water resource management and preservation policies. As our economy is agriculture-based, this scarcity will have baneful effects on the economy, tensions among different provinces can rise over water distribution and even the whole country could be struck by severe episodes of drought.

Therefore, water shortage is truly a big challenge for Pakistan which needs to be paid due attention on an urgent basis.

Furthermore, there is a dire need to formulate an effective water resource management agenda, a uniform water distribution policy and an efficient plan for the prevention of water wastage. Most importantly, the government should make concerted efforts for building water reservoirs and storage dams in the country so that the real issue can be addressed.

written by Hammad Iqbal

Iqra Aziz and Yasir Hussain visited Tharparkar

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The recently married duo, Iqra Aziz and Yasir Hussain visited Tharparkar, an isolated area in Sindh a few weeks ago. The couple have been updating the population by posting videos on Instagram and sharing conversations with the inhabitants of Tharparkar who have been falling victim to the worst form of crisis any living being can go through the water crisis.

The star couple’s main aim was to throw light on the issues these men and women go through and to bring their suffering and hardship in the public eye.

Their videos show the discussions regarding the ongoing water crisis in Tharparkar with local women who have also been highlighted in their videos. These women talk about the struggle they face in collecting and carrying water to their homes.

Unfortunately, these men and women have no choice! With a family of little children to feed, the men set off for work every morning and labour all day while their women go to fetch water 150 kilometres away! The conversations also brought about the ultimate result of the water crisis in which an 8th-month pregnant woman lost her life whilst bringing water to her home! Towards the end, Iqra shared a heart-wrenching moment with one of the women for which she says that instead of waking up and washing their faces with water, these people travel far distances fetching it and often lose their lives whilst bringing it home.

However, they were very grateful to Tayaba Organization by putting in some heart and soul in solving the water crisis. One of these women also became emotional and shed a tear as Iqra handed her the water wheel by Tayaba Organization as it brought back memories of her late sister!

The immense contribution of Tayaba Organization to several families gives hope to many suffering that one day they will wake up to a better future for themselves and their families!

 

written by Maria A Mushtaq