ISLAMABAD,(Pakistan Point News - APP - 1st Augst,2016) :National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change Monday proposed creation of a National Wetland Authority for restoration of existing wetlands and establishing new to store extra flood water. The committee met here under the chairmanship of Dr Hafeez-ur-Rehman Khan Drishak. The chairman said provincial irrigation, agriculture, forest and wildlife departments must be approached to establish the authority.
Briefing the committee, Inspector General Forest Pakistan Syed Mahmood Nasir said encroachment on wetlands in different parts of the country had worsened flood problem. He said restoration of wetlands was the must to reduce impact of floods, protect wildlife and environment. Nisar said the Indus river, which was flowin along the Pakistan side of the China-Pakistan Economics Corridor (CPEC), had the huge potential to store extra flood water in large and medium wetlands.
Availability of fresh water in the shape of lakes along CPEC was vital to its sustainability, he added. There is no agency in Pakistan that deals with wetlands, like the wetlands management authority in China. He said the draft of National Forest Policy 2015 Pakistan carried the recommendations to establish wetlands management Authority. Chairman of NDMA Major General Asghar Nawaz apprised the body that encroachment on river beds was causing blockade of the floodwater flow.
He said SMS based early warning system for communities was established in collaboration with Pakistan Telecommunication (PTA) and cellular companies which resulted in timely evacuation as well as public awareness. So far, 17 percent rain had been received in the country against prediction of 20 percent during the current moonson seasion, while more rainfall across the country was expected, the NDMA chairman said. He said to enable Pakistan army to respond to floods being first responders, NDMA was vigorously pursuing to ensure availability of flood fighting equipment from Provincial governments to Pakistan Army.
The national institute of Disaster Management had great contribution for the capacity enhancement of officials in disaster risk management, he added. The meeting was attended among others by members Salman Hanif, Tahira Aurangzeb, Shaista Pervaiz Abdul Qahar Khan Wadan and Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid.