Cyclone Kyarr Leads To Increase In Plastic Pollution Along Coastal Belt

KARACHI: As Cyclone Kyarr transforms into a low marked depression with each passing day, a recent survey revealed that it has led to increased plastic pollution along the coastal belt of Pakistan.

A WWF-Pakistan report, released here on Saturday, says the category 5 super-cyclone Kyarr (04A) generated higher than usual waves in the central Arabian Sea resulting in the inundation of many villages in Keti Bunder and creek areas along the Indus Delta.  Similarly, areas along the coast of Karachi including Ibrahim Hyderi, Lath Basti, and Rehri came under seawater resulting in damage to houses and other properties.

However, the effect of cyclone Kyarr was more evident along the Balochistan coast where all major settlements were inundated. This included the coastal villages of Gaddani, Sonmiani and Damb in Lasbela district where water caused damage to infrastructure.

Similarly, some areas of Ormara, Pasni, Sur and Gwadar in Makran division were also affected. The most significant impact of super-storm Kyarr was felt by the coastal town of Gunz located near Jiwani. Although this super-cyclone was the strongest since Gonu in the year 2007, it brought rain to southern Oman and Somalia.

Coastal area of Gunz, Balochistan, badly affected by Cyclone Kyarr.

A WWF-Pakistan team conducted survey to assess the damage in Gunz and surrounding areas, which reported that receding waves took along a large number of fishing nets abandoned by fishermen. It also washed away a large number of nets, which were stored on the shore. Additionally, receding waters dumped plastic waste, consisting mainly of polythene bags and other plastic debris, along the berm of the settlement.

It may be mentioned here that several studies conducted over past few years have raised alarms over rising pollution in various oceans.

According to a study, our oceans are filling up fast with plastic, and by 2050, our seas might have more of it than fish. Reports indicate that existence of nearly 700 marine species has been threatened due to the rising plastic pollution, and it is also destroying the mangroves along coastal belt.

A study by World Ocean Network revealed that in many developing countries, 90% of wastewater and 70% of industrial waste are discharged without treatment. In May this year, nearly 414 million plastic pieces, including one million shoes and 370,000 toothbrushes, were found on an island of the Indian Ocean alone. It was revealed at a seminar recently organized by Karachi University that River Indus was the second most plastic-polluted river in the world as it contributed 164,332 tonnes of plastic waste (to the sea) annually.

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