Meet the elderly women committed to saving Karachi’s mangroves
Elderly women of a coastal village in Karachi have taken it upon themselves to conserve mangroves along the coastline, a step that can be essential in saving Karachi from the perils of rising sea-levels.
Mangroves are popularly referred to as the ‘lungs’ of Karachi, a city that thrives along a coastline that is rapidly being damaged thanks to land reclamation. The shrub-like forests have long shielded Karachi from tidal floods and provided shoreline stability while also serving as a breeding ground for a variety of marine life. They have also provided villagers with firewood and fodder for livestock.
However, the mangrove spread is rapidly declining; in the 1950s they covered an estimated area of 350,000 hectares and by the 1990s they covered just about 86,000 hectares. Now, the women of the nearby village of Kakapir are stepping up to the task.
Talking to Hina Deedar for ARY News, 72-year-old Sughrana Haji shared how she has been working hard with other women of the village to conserve mangroves. “Mangroves are like life support for people. Imagine them like a four-walled fortress that is safeguarding us,” she said. Much to her dismay, however, no one seems to listen to their pleas to not cut down the forests.
“Our women work hard to retrieve the seeds and replant them in a nursery in an effort to speed up conservation,” she added.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has also been involved in helping the women of Kakapir become more independent in their quest “We ensure gender representation in our work for the environment and we make sure that women play an important part in helping the environment, managing biodiversity and in sustainability,” said Humaira Ayesha, Conservation Manager at WWF.
It is not the responsibility of just one group of people to save mangroves, but of the entire city that they safeguard, protect, and provide work to. It is high time that Karachi makes moves to conserve its lungs before they collapse.