Mithi, Nagarparkar: Members of civil society organization including Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) have demanded that unchecked tree cutting in Tharparkar districts, particularly in Mithi, Umerkot, Diplo, Islamkot and Nagarparkar areas be brought to an end once for all. The have also demanded that the Nagarparkar area, which is known for its unique red granite stone and globally significant wildlife species, be declared as national park.
Inhabitated by around 1.1 million people, the Tharparkar district is spread over an area of 22,000 square kilometers. Known for scenic and picturesque sand dunes, sand valleys, Karoonjhar hills and Rann of Kutch, the district’s boundaries divide Pakistan and India in the southeast.
Tharparkar is a fragile arid and semiarid ecosystem which is subjected to desertification due to frequent droughts, pressure on natural vegetative cover due to exploitation by human and livestock (for fodder, timber, firewood, gum resin, medicinal herbs extraction etc.) and limited water resources. Desertification threatened livelihood of about 1.3 million inhabitants and 5 million livestock.
The major causes of desertification are felling of trees and removal of vegetative cover in the result of deforestation and overgrazing. Destruction of Camiphora mukal (gum yielding shrub), by tukka (chemical cut) method, is a major cause of desertification in Tharparkar, particularly in Nagarparkar area which is rich in this shrub.
“Because of unavailability of alternative energy sources and weakening income sources, more and more people have started cutting trees to meet their domestic fuel wood needs and earn livelihood by selling them in the markets,” remarked nature conservator and SCOPE coordinator Bharumal Armani.
This he said on the occasion of awareness-raising event organized by SCOPE here in Mithi today to sensitise local people about the unprecedented significane and value of the forests and dangers of deforestation on every aspect of life in the desert district of Sindh.
In this regardm an awareness-raising rally was also took out in Mithi by the civil society organization in collaboration with Drynet and district government. Passing through different throughfares the rally concluded at the Mithi Press Club.
SCOPE’s Bharumal Armani, advocate Shahnaz Hingorjo, Nasrullah Samo, Mulji Rathor, Pardeep Kalani, Daulat Ram Katri and others addressed the rally participants outside the press club.They said that Tharparkar is among world’s five largest eco-regions and is known in the world as green desert. But, ruthless tree cutting in the district had badly disturbed the ecology of the area as visible in change in rainfall seasons and depleting underground water resources.
“Criminal negligence on the part of government officials, responsible for controlling such environment damaging activities, is matter of serious concern for those, who worry about this phenomenon of tree cutting, which has now rather speeded up,” they said.
Bharumal told Pakistan Times that more than 95 per cent of the 1.1 million people in the district depend on these natural resources for their livelihood. But, their depletion has threatened the livelihood of the local people. Earlier, the SCOPE planted 1,000 tree saplings of different indigenous species under the slogan ‘Greening Tharparkar’ in active support by the organization’s ‘green guards’.