Lyari River by Ministry of Climate Change

Report Launched on Lyari River by the Ministry of Climate Change

[Karachi, 7th September 2022]: Under the patronage of Senator Sherry Rehman, Federal Minister of Climate Change, The Coca‑Cola Company, in partnership with the Karachi Port Trust, brought leaders from across the country for a roundtable session, to build a coalition to clean up the Lyari River.

Held in continuation of the World Water Week theme of #SeeingTheUnseen, the roundtable session was chaired by Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman, with Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Faisal Ali Subzwari attending as guest of honor and led by S.M Tariq Huda, Chairman of the Karachi Port Trust; all of whom represented apex bodies most impacted by the report that revealed catastrophic levels of waste accumulation over the last 20 years, of which less than 2 percent is removed.

Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, who formed a committee to lead the Lyari Cleanup Project, said, “Pakistan has been identified as the most vulnerable to climate change as we clearly see from the present floods the country is facing. Broad-based partnerships are going to play a crucial role in ensuring that we develop solutions that can be scaled up by use of technology.”

Fahad Ashraf, Vice President, The Coca‑Cola Company, Pakistan said, “We have always known that the communities in Karachi’s harbour area are adversely impacted by poor waste management, but this is not a responsibility that falls on one single entity because the quantum of the problem is too large. This is a call to anyone who cares about Pakistan’s water security to step in.”

Moderated by public policy expert, Mosharraf Zaidi, this event aimed to co-create solutions that can be used to scale up sustainable interventions, emphasize on local and international expertise. In attendance were representatives of the global NGO, The Ocean Cleanup, WWF-Pakistan, Unilever, Nestlé, Engro and the packaging alliance CORE.

As part of The Ocean Cleanup and Coca‑Cola's global partnership to stem the tide of plastic waste by intercepting it in rivers around the world, they are looking to build a coalition that explores solutions to clean the Lyari harbor area.

Mr. Tariq Huda, Chairman of Karachi Port Trust, a partner in making the project a reality, said “This port connects Pakistan’s northern provinces and the overall Pakistan economy to the world, and water security, therefore, is a national security issue that we must neither deny nor delay solving.”

The Environmental Scoping Study reveals that the Lyari harbour area, which was meant to be a spillway to control the flow of flood water, is now choked by accumulated debris. Every month, 9,000 tonnes of debris enter this river, almost entirely uncleaned.

With about 33 million people nation-wide impacted by the floods and an impending food security issue, this timely report calls for urgent and substantive action in densely populated cities like Karachi that are at a perpetual threat to urban flooding.

Recommendations from the broad based coalition were sought, chiefly a pledge to not just recognize the problem, but also to create long-term backwards and forward linkages so the harbour area can flourish again in the years to come. 

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