During the last two hundred years, the global environment has deteriorated on a scale unimaginable. Experts believe that rapid industrialisation is the major cause of environmental degradation. Reverberations of human activity on the global environment can be seen in the form of radical changes in the lives of millions of people. One case in point is Manchar Lake, located in Sindh.

Manchar Lake was a source of providing livelihood for twenty thousand people once. Now, less than four thousand people find their food and income from this contaminated lake, which was once considered the largest shallow fresh water lake of Pakistan.

Our one-dimensional definition of progress has brought disaster in the lives of those who were dependent on the lake to make ends meet. According to a report published by one NGO, The Third Pole, the problems began in 1982 with the bad engineering of Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD). This network of channels was constructed to reduce water logging and salinity in the adjacent districts of Dadu and Larkana. Unfortunately, the ill-planned project ended up destroying the ecology of the lake. Dumping industrial waste, containing lead and arsenic, did the rest of the job.

In March 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the concerned departments to tackle the issue. However, till this date, no real progress has been seen. A recent report in The Nation sheds light on the official delays in this regard. The efforts to revive the fresh water reservoir have received another setback as the PC-I of the Nai Gaj Dam, the main source of fresh water to the lake, was returned by the Ministry of Planning.

Bureaucratic postponements have proved calamitous. Since the past sixteen years, no right solution has been designed and concerned authorities, according to studies conducted, did not pay any heed to the indigenous knowledge of those who have kept the lake alive for centuries. If the federation does not consider it a national loss, the lake will vanish forever. We are losing one more national asset along with immense financial and human costs attached.