Dr Asif Inam, an eminent Oceanographer and Director General of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), in a recent briefing to the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology spoke about the possible submerging of Karachi and other coastal districts into the sea by 2060, counting the potential damage that environmental changes could inflict on the country. It is a startling and scary disclosure. Dr. Asif informed the Parliament that some parts of Karachi have already gone under water, while Thatta and Badin districts will also sink, by 2050. Professor Sajjid Mir, head of the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology called a meeting to discuss the escalating threat of sea intrusion, along the coasts of Baluchistan and Sindh.

Unfolding facts vis-à-vis this grave issue, Dr. Asif Inam further said that during the past 35 years, almost two kilometres of coastline near Sindh and Baluchistan had submerged into the sea, as well as 200,000 acres of land in Sindh. He told the committee that the United Nations Environment Program and its program on regional oceans had included Pakistan, in 1989, in the list of countries that could be affected, due to rising sea levels. Speaking before the Senate panel, Sindh University’s Professor Sarfaraz Hussain Solangi also shed light on the issues of global warming, climate change and its devastating impact. The scenario painted by the experts is indeed horrifying. The questions is, are those at the helm aware of the gravity of the forthcoming catastrophe? Are they taking adequate and substantive measures to deal with this gigantic threat?

M. FAZAL ELAHI,

Islamabad, February 16.