HYDERABAD: World Environment Day 2012 was celebrated at the University of Sindh Jamshoro with this year’s theme: “Green Economy”. The event was a joint initiative by Sindh Coastal Development Authority under Sindh Coastal Community Development Project, Mangrove for the Future (MFF) Pakistan Programme of IUCN, Centre for Environmental Sciences and University of Sindh with the support of Mehran University of Engineering & Technology and Sindh Forest & Wildlife Department.
The event was attended by a large number of students and faculty members, and individuals from various different government departments, NGOs, media, and the environmental sector.
The inaugural session was co- chaired by the Vice Chancellor Sindh University, Dr. Parveen Shah and Mr. Javed Jabbar, Vice President, IUCN Global. Dr. G. M. Mastoi, Director, Centre for Environmental Sciences, University of Sindh, welcomed the participants to the seminar. Mr. Shams ul Haq Memon, Advisor Sindh Coastal Development Authority, also spoke at the occasion.
In his keynote address, Mr. Javed Jabbar, Vice President of IUCN Global, introduced the organisation and its mandate towards addressing global conservation issues. He stated that humans live in a beautiful world and it was our individual and collective responsibility to preserve the beauty of the earth. In particular, he emphasized upon integrity and interconnectedness of human lives, species and their habitats which have been fragmented due to our anthropocentric approach towards nature and natural resources.
Mr. Javed Jabbar urged the scholars to inculcate and nurture young talent so that they may be able to deliver their best to the betterment of all aspects of society. He further went on to say that the University of Sindh is a prestigious, and most important centre for higher seats of learning.
In her inaugural speech, Dr. Parveen Shah, Vice Chancellor, University of Sindh called the World Environment Day “a ray of hope”, indicating that it presented a promising future for environmental sustainability in Pakistan. She urged people to redress their attitude towards the environment, own their responsibilities towards it, and to care for it collectively.
This was followed by a technical session during which different experts delivered their presentations related to environmentally sustainable initiatives. Mr. Akhtar Hussain Samoo, Deputy Director Sindh Coastal Community Development Project, presented on the rehabilitation of mangroves, solar energy, alternate livelihood: how these efforts have contributed to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Mr. Ghulam Qadir Shah, NRM Coordinator, IUCN Pakistan, spoke in detail about climate change, its causes and impact on different sectors (resulting from global warming), sea level rise and variations in precipitation. He termed climate change as a reality that needs to be integrated in Pakistan’s sectoral planning measures.
Mr. Rafiul Haq, National Coordinator, MFF Pakistan, highlighted the role of mangrove ecosystems in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation. He further educated the audience about MFF’s contribution towards conservation of coastal resources in Pakistan. Mr. Ashfaq Ahmed Pathan, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, presented research findings on recycling of gray water and highlighted the need for the adaption of gray water recycling as a measure to promote water conservation.
A poster competition and a photographic exhibition was hosted by the university. The poster competition, held among the students of the university, was based on three different environmental themes: Biodiversity, Climate Change and Natural Disasters. The exhibits were by Mr. Jamshed Masood of Cactus Digital, and they illustrated the colours, hues and beauty of Karachi’s coast. Mr. Jabbar inaugurated both activities and appreciated the efforts by the students and photographer alike to highlight the environmental issues facing the country. The exhibits also received appreciation from a large number of art lovers and students. The winners of the poster competition were awarded shields of appreciation.
In his concluding remarks, the Chief Guest, Muhammad Hanif Pathan, Director General Sindh Coastal Development Authority, praised the efforts of all the experts and scholars involved. He expressed his positive sentiments regarding WED, citing it to be a wonderful, collective effort of appreciation of the Earth and it’s protection. In this light, he also said that such initiatives were an important tool in raising awareness.
The Dean Faculty of Natural Sciences Dr. Muhammad Tahir Rajput formally offered the vote of thanks to the participants. The ceremony was concluded with a group photograph, followed by the lunch arranged at International Hostel.