The largest island along Pakistan’s coast, Astola was declared ‘marine protected area’ (MPA) last year. This decision was taken under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Our government has also agreed to declare at least 17 percent of its coastal and marine areas as protected by 2020. So far only two percent of the areas have declared protected. The government has to take some big decisions if it really wants to fulfill its international obligation. Pakistan’s second largest island, Churna is an uninhabited island. If the government declares Churna Island protected, it will be the second marine protected area in the country. The island is under threat due to industrial projects including LNG Terminal and coal-fired power project.
The marine life around Churna includes rare green turtle, shark, whale, dolphin, oyster, crabs and lobsters. Two anti-marine life projects including a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and a coal-fired power project works are in full swing near Churna island. Environmental organisations and local fishermen of Mubarak Village have reservations over these projects. It is believed that they are anti eco-friendly projects which will harm and hurt the marine life. The LNG Terminals and coal-fired power project will also disturb the traditional fishing. We urge the government to declare Churna island the country’s marine protected area.
Sarfraz Haroon (Karachi)