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Ban imposed on Churna Island visits through tour operators

KARACHI/QUETTA: Following an oil spill at the Mubarak Village coastline, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Balochistan, has placed a ban on people visiting Churna Island, a popular scuba-diving spot for visitors, through tour operators.

Churna Island falls under the remit of Lasbela district on the Balochistan-Sindh border. The ban was imposed under the Environment Act of 2012.

According to a notification, the EPA barred tour operators from providing services to customers without obtaining NOC from the provincial Environment Department.

It is reported that the registration of tours operators will be undertaken in the office of Provincial Environment Department.

Read: KPT team leaves for Mubarak Village to cleanup oil spill

The decision was taken by the authorities concerned after reports about environmental issues arising out of the visits of a large number of people through tour operators.

“We want to protect Churna island site from damage,” an EPA official said, adding that all tour operators should submit environment-friendly and security plans and pay fee to the provincial Environment Department.

Mubarak Village,located about 30 kilometers away at Karachi’s coastline, has been home to around 4,000 people. The serene setting of the village sitting at the Arabian Sea certainly fascinates the outsiders or those making it to the captivating beach.

According to reports, the spill was first spotted and reported by local fisherman who works with local fishing communities at Abdul Rehman Goth. “We are also getting conflicting reports as some people think it may be due to a leak in an underwater pipeline while others say that it all came from a passing vessel,” says Usman Iqbal added.

A team of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has also left for cleaning the oil spill, which was reported yesterday near Mubarak Village coastal belt this morning.

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