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Eco-tourism projects, blue economy to be launched in Sindh

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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister for Environment & Climate Change Sherry Rehman have agreed to work on different projects, including depollution of Manchhar Lake, development of eco-tourism on Keenjhar Lake and Miani Forest and fortifying fisheries cold chains and development of sustainable Fisheries Management Framework.

The meeting was held at CM House on Saturday and was attended by Provincial Minister for Forest & Wildlife Taimur Talpur, Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Forest Badar Jamil Mendhro and Secretary Environment department Hassan Iqbal.

It was pointed out that the federal government has established a `The National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to finance the subprojects that will contribute to enhancing Pakistan’s resilience to climatic and other natural hazards and to strengthen the government’s ability to respond to disasters triggered by natural hazards.

The Fund is also mandated to support climate related interventions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. It [The Fund] has already committed an amount of US$ 38.78 million nationally for implementing projects aligned and compliment the implementation of National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) and National Flood Protection Plan (NEPP-IV).

Sherry Rehman said that the Fund was planning to initiate proposal processing for Phase-II by November 2022 with anticipated approval of financing for the same by June 2023.

Blue Economy: The chief minister said that the NDRMF has approved a project’Towards Resilient Marine Ecosystem and Sustainable Blue Economy’ for Rs1.98 billion. The location of this one -year project, (2022-23 & 2023-2024) is the coastal areas of District Thatta, Sujawal, Badin & Karachi.

The project consists of two main components: Resilient Marine Ecosystem and Utilization of salinized land.

Resilient Marine Ecosystem: Resilient Marine Ecosystem through Sustainable Management of Fisheries Resource ecosystem includes different components as follows:

·      Establish fisheries protected areas through community engagement.

·      Establishment community policing through “Fisheries Stewardship Agreements (FSA)” in identified areas

·      Development of Sustainable Fisheries Management Framework (SFMF) for coastal fisheries (all jetties)

·      Fortification of fisheries cold chain and establish support facilities on two landing centers.

·      Installation of flake ice machine / chilling unit with cold storage at landing center on two landing centers

·      Installation of RO plant for clean water supply along with solar system compatible with RO on two landing centers.

·      Expansion of existing floating pontoon on two jetties.

·      Establishment & Management of field offices (porta cabin)

·      Establishment of check posts (porta cabin)

·      Installation of chillers / flake ice machines on boats

·      Provision of fish handling equipment to small boats and traders, including Iceboxes, Fish crates and Fish baskets

·      Replacing harmful fishing gears with sustainable gear.

·      Sensitization of unsustainable and illegal unreported & unregulated (IUU) fishing.

·      Alter at least 50 fishing trawlers to sustainable fishing boats (gillnetters etc.)

·      Monitoring of fishing boats movement through Installation of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) on boats

Utilization of Salinized Land: Utilization of Salinized Land Caused by Sea Intrusion for Aquaculture. This project has also different components including establishment of Model Demonstration Aquaculture Farm; establish model farms for Backyard culturing of fin fish and Shellfish; livelihoods and family Nutrition Support for Women /Family; backyard Aquaculture ponds on not more than one-acre area with all required facilities for

women and families of coastal areas; provision of expert / technical services for backyard aquaculture systems; support for improving fish drying practices for women entrepreneurs; establishing 24/7 Extension Services for target districts and training & exposure of 1000 farmers and fishermen.

The chief minister said that these projects are already approved for the current financial year. He added that he wanted to start work on them at the earliest. The federal minister assured the chief minister that their funds would be released at the earliest so that the project could be started.

Miani Forest: The chief minister said that the Eco-Tourism Village at Miani Forest Hyderabad was a Rs. 645 million Project. He added that the Mini Forest was located 13 km from Hyderabad city via Hyderabad Bypass.

According to the CM the site has attracted recreational forest area due to its natural beauty and is considered a historical place. Mini Forest is on the national highway which makes it easily accessible and connects it with all major cities of the province. The project will have a catchment area comprising not only Hyderabad but Karachi and other major regions.

Manchhar Lake: The CM talking about co-Tourism Recreational Activities at Manchar Lake said that it was a Rs.910 million scheme. “Manchar is the largest shallow freshwater lake in Pakistan and it plays an important role as a natural habitat,” he said and added that therefore, it was environmentally very important.

The lake supports numerous fisher folk who depend on the fishes in the lake, Mr Shah said and added the water of the lake used to be clear but environmental degradation has dropped the quality of the lake.

The CM said that the main Nara valley Drain has led the lake to undergo environmental degradation. “The Road leading toward Manchar lake is from the old indus highway which

makes it easily accessible and connects it with all major cities of Sindh,” the CM said and added The project would have a catchment area comprising not only Hyderabad but Karachi and other major regions. Federal Minister Sherry Rehman urged the provincial government to prepare both the schemes of eco-tourism and approve them from PDWP and then send the same to the federal government. She added the federal government would fund the scheme through NDRMF or from any other source.

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Sindh Solid Waste Management Board starts paying for garbage disposal in Pak Rupees

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KARACHI: With an aim to lower the financial burden on the provincial exchequer, the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) started to pay private companies contracted for garbage disposal in the city in local currency instead of US dollars.

In this regard, Managing Director SSWMB Syed Imtiaz Ali Shah held a meeting with representatives of the private firms responsible for disposal of garbage in the city and apprised them of the decisions made by the steering committee of the Board.

The meeting deliberated upon the new plan of garbage disposal in the city before the expiry of the contracts made with private firms for solid waste management on district West, Malir, Keamari and East.

It was informed in the meeting that the negotiation with the contracting firms for payment in local currency had already been started.

The representatives of the private firms working in district Malir, West and Keamari informed the meeting that the verification of the staff and vehicles had been completed through a third party, while the verification was still going on in district East.

The managing-director directed the officials concerned to take steps to further improve efficiency in the new operational plan.

He asked the officials to make union committee-wise operational plan, containing complete details of daily waste volume, transport, machinery, staff and all resources to further improve the door-to-door waste collection services.

He also directed the private companies to pay the salaries of their respective staff on time. Mr Shah said that the operational plan should also include training of the staff, the strategy of separate collection of waste and date of people who picked garbage illegally.

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SBCA launches crackdown against illegal structures in Karachi

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KARACHI: The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has initiated massive crackdown against illegal constructions in different parts of the city, resulting in demolition of numerous buildings, marriage halls etc.

In a recent operation against illegal constructions in Karachi’s district Central, SBCA officials also came under firing, however, SBCA officials proceeded with the operation and demolished the fourth floor of the targeted building.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi has instructed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Central to apprehend the culprits immediately and file a case against those involved in the firing.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi emphasized the need for fearless enforcement actions against illegal constructions and commended the SBCA staff for their dedication and honesty. He assured them of full support in facing any challenges during their duties.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi along with the demolition squad has bulldozed more than four buildings in areas including Essa Nagri, Paposh Nagar, and Gulberg. Moreover, over 13 illegal portions have been demolished in areas including Saddar Town, Jamshed Town, Gulberg, and Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi is personally supervising the crackdown against illegal constructions. The provincial government is committed to cleansing Karachi from all forms of illegal constructions, the DG adds.

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Sindh CS, British Deputy High Commissioner vow to strengthen bilateral relations, work for environmental challenges

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KARACHI: British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney met with Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah at the Sindh Secretariat on Wednesday to discuss enhancing bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

During the meeting, Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah briefed the British Deputy High Commissioner on the ongoing efforts in infrastructure development, water supply, sewage, and governance in Sindh. He stated that the Sindh government is actively working on improving water supply, sewage, and road infrastructure to accommodate Karachi’s growing population.

“Pakistan, although only contributing less than 1 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change.” Said CS Sindh

He highlighted that Pakistan incurred a loss of $32 billion from the 2022 floods and is vulnerable to future environmental risks, underscoring the urgent need for proactive measures to mitigate such disasters.

Furthermore, he expressed concerns about the adverse effects of environmental changes on the River Indus. Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah informed that the federal-level Living Indus project has been initiated, after consultation with environmental experts, stakeholders, and provincial governments. He expressed a desire for technical assistance from the British government to address environmental changes.

Syed Asif Hyder Shah also mentioned investment opportunities in energy, investment, and agriculture sectors in Sindh for British investors. British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney expressed interest in collaborating on the Living Indus project and other projects related to environment. Chief Secretary Sindh presented traditional souvenir to the British Deputy High Commissioner.

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