I quite like the looks of mangroves but I never realized that a trip down the forest could well become the best outing in Karachi I had in years. The boat ride captured below in pictures is 35 minutes long and it takes you through the swirling wonderland of Karachi mangroves. You can book it here.
The boat ride starts from a village in Sandspit. The venture has been put up with the help of WWF. A tour of WWF wetland center is also recommended. WWF charges mere 200 rupees per person and extend their services mainly to schools but personal visits are also arranged. The activities include watching a documentary, a presentation and mangrove plantation. Turtle and Dolphin watching trips are also organized by WWF in oct-feb period. Winters is a better time for another reason as mangroves host numerous types of migratory birds. Insist on going deep in mangroves for plantation rather than staying on the boundary. A lunch on floating restaurant between mangroves is highly recommended but you have to book it in advance. A bird watching check post is also setup between the mangroves. Insist on stopping by.
Mangroves put a shield to tsunamis, thunderstorms and strong winds. In Pakistan 90% of magroves are in Sindh province which is the main reason Sindh has been spared of disastrous cyclones while Baluchistan has been devastately hit on many occassions. The reason mangroves have thrived in Sindh is that it requires a mixture of river and sea water which has been possible in Sindh due to abundant indus water. But sadly they have been diminishing in Sindh also due to extensive irrigation and lack of water release in Indus delta. Unplanned urban growth and pollution has also contributed to the rapid deforestation of mangroves. Karachi City govt. has been planning to develop Karachi skyline and it puts mangroves at great risk and activists from different backgrounds have been protesting for long. Govt. officials’ have such a misunderstanding about mangroves that they infamously proposed activists to plant mangroves else where in Karachi.
This is what latest BBC news story has to say about the valuation of mangoves.
The World Atlas of Mangroves, published on Tuesday, puts the value of mangroves at up to 9,000 per hectare per year. Items in the credit column including protection from storms, habitat for young fish, and carbon storage. Teeb has calculated the annual value of forest loss around the world at $2-5 trillion.
Please visit mangroves and please take children along. Increase in mangrove enthusiasts will make economic sense for villagers to invest in infrastructure and preservation efforts.
Lets save most underrated wonder in our backyard for our future generations.