LAHORE - The Government College University’s Environment Protection Society in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund Pakistan and Pakistan Green Enviro-Engineering Monday organised a one-day seminar to observe the World Wetlands Day.
GCU Vice Chancellor Dr Khaleequr Rahman was the chief guest on the occasion, while Dean Faculty of Sciences Prof Dr Islamullah Khan, WWF Pakistan representative Najmul Huda Khan, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Dean of Fisheries and Wildlife Prof Dr Ashraf and EPS Advisor Dr Tabinda were also present.
Dr Khaleeq, in his address, urged the students to take part in the social activities to save the environment. “Being citizens, we have forgotten our responsibilities and to make Pakistan a developed country, we must follow the disciplines of a society decided by the Islam,” he said. Prof Rahman said that foreign experts had pointed out almost 15 years ago that Lahore would face water scarcity, but nobody cared about it. He said that even the water of posh societies had now been contaminated.
Prof Dr Ashraf, in his lecture, pointed out that wetlands were not only much important for a country’s environment and biodiversity but also for its economy. He said that any water area having 6-metre depth is called wetland. He said that Wetlands Day had been marked since 1971 when the Convention on Wetlands or Ramsar Convention was signed by 18 countries on February 2 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
He said that the main wetlands of Pakistan include Astola Island (country’s largest wetland), Chashma Barrage, Drigh Lake, Haleji Lake (Asia’s largest bird sanctuary), Hub Dam, Indus River Delta, Jiwani Coastal, Jubho Lagoon, Kinjhar Lake, Miani Hor, Runn of Kutch, Tanda Dam, Taunsa Barrage, Thanedar Wala, Uchalli Lake and Deh Akro-II Desert Wetland Complex. Najmul Huda Khan said that WWF has added glacier lakes and floods in the definition of wetlands. He said out of 2177 Ramsar sites in the world, 19 are in Pakistan.
He said wetlands have much socio-economic values as around one billion people eat fish caught from wetlands.
He said that there should be awareness in people to conserve the wetlands whether they are natural or man-made.
In the end, the vice chancellor presented shields and bouquets to guests and old office-bearers of EPS. New office-bearers of Environment Protection Society also took oath on the occasion.