In 2008, I made a documentary on how our city’s coastline had been affected by unregulated development. The most visible victims of natural habitat destruction were the mangrove forests, which to this day are being cut with abandon.
Several mega construction projects were ceremoniously announced in the previous years, one of them being the sweetly named ‘Sugarland City’. One person shared with us how she didn’t understand why these decisions were made without consulting residents. Even mangrove mudflat wetlands were not spared. Bundal island was to be filled with sand to make ground for the fantastic ‘Diamond Bar Island City’, complete with 15,000 housing units, commercial plazas, leisure points, industrial parks, free trade zones and port terminals.
Now that a city is again planned on Bundal Island, imagine the amount of mud that would be sucked out of the sea floor and piled onto the island. As Arif Hasan explains, it’s called ‘land reclamation’, and the shoreline has been subjected to it for decades, resulting in floods. Arif Hasan explains how Karachi is prone to storms and cyclones, and how the natural habitats of mangrove mudflats like Bundal Island protect the city.
“Finance, like nature, abhors a vacuum. When the time is right, the greed for land and profit will rear its head again. It is imperative for the people of Karachi to work together to ensure their interest in communal spaces like seashores is held sacred as Karachi evolves.”
The script of the film was written by the brilliant Shandana Minhas of @mongrelbooks. Voiceover by Arif Abrar. Produced by @ShehriCBE and @GetzPharmaCEO.
You can watch the film here
And if you’re interested in sea turtles in Karachi.
By Mahera Omar