KARACHI (PPI) - Heavy metals discharged by thousands of Karachi industries with untreated effluent have been leaving adverse effects not only on environment but also destroying marine life.

According to environmentalists, as many as 10 kinds of heavy metals are found in coastal areas of Karachi, which include cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron leads, magnesium, manganese, nickel, zinc etc. The growing quantity of heavy metals have polluted the coastal areas and endangered the seaweeds, fish, crabs and lobsters. A source from Karachi University said, the KU had conducted a PhD study, which had taken three years. The samples of the seaweeds, fish, crabs, lobsters and sea water showed that sea pollution was alarming.

Source said that the seaweeds have 170 species including green seaweeds, brown seaweeds and red seaweeds.

“The study had recommended protect seaweeds from the sea pollution, which serves fish and shrimps as nurseries. After dying of seaweeds, there had been decline in fish, lobsters, crabs and shrimps in the sea. Moreover, about 300 million gallon urban sewerage are discharged in the sea daily from Malir, Lyari, Bhains Colony, Landhi and Korangi sewerage channels.

Industrial wastes from Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) are brought via the Lyari River to the Manhora Channel. Hub Industrial Area’s wastes are brought via Hub River to Sunera Beach, near Mubarak Village. Industrial and domestic wastes from the Landhi Industrial trading Estate (LITE) including Korangi, outfall into the Malir River before being discharged on the tidal falls of Ghizri Creek and passed through the adjoining creeks into the Arabian Sea.

In addition, Karachi Shipyard discharges considerable amounts of euphoric acid in its wastewater into the channel. There are also indications of heavy metal leaching from the Pakistan Steel Mills Plant. Oil also frequently spills in the sea from the ships carrying oil.

According to estimates about 37,000 tons of industrial wastes are largely drained into sea daily. About four thousands factories in the Karachi and more than five hundred in Hub Balochistan are operating, which are discharging their chemical waste to sea without treatment.

“Toxic heavy metals find their way into our bodies daily after eating seafood with industrial pollution. These heavy metals have been linked to conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, insomnia and many more. Heavy metal pollution has been scientifically proven to be linked to causing free radical damage leading to heart attacks, strokes, and cancer,” disclosed Dr. Faqir Muhammad, a local practitioner of Mauripur Village.

“In the past the seawater was so clean that it was called as “blue waters.” Even if some coins were thrown in the sea, the children would jump in the sea and bring the same coin back”, said Muhammad Haroon, a fisherman of Mubarak Village, while talking to PPI.

“The government should protect the marine life, otherwise thousands of the fishermen will be deprived their livelihoods,” said Muhammad Haroon.

He said that a big majority of the city’s fishermen localities population is suffering from multiple diseases. The affected people, mostly fishermen, who complained of respiratory and skin problems as common diseases, are the residents of those villages where basic healthcare facilities are not available. They said that fishermen of Mubarak Village had submitted a lot of complaints against the Karachi based and Hub based factories but no action has so far been taken against them.