KARACHI: The once life-giving Manchhar Lake is now filled with dead fish to an immeasurable extent due to contamination, posing a severe risk to the livelihood, health and lives of the communities living in and around it.
“Something is better than nothing” is the word for the dead fish in the vicinity as the average rate of catching fish has drastically decreased with the authorities providing no social protection to the communities, 70 per cent of which have migrated to other parts of the country.
According to the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, the annual fish catch at the lake has dropped dramatically from 2,300 tonnes in 1944 to 700 tonnes in the 1980s; it was reduced to only 75 tonnes in 2015.
Besides, 14 of the 200 species of fish found in the lake back in 1930 have become extinct.
Dead fish from the contaminated waters of the Manchhar Lake is dried, mixed with corn, rice and lentils, and then used as chicken feed.
According to data, the Manchhar Lake used to have over 2,600 species of plants, animals and fish.
All popular and commercially valuable species of fish are stated to have gone. Besides, the Siberian migratory birds have also lost a stop on their flyway due to there not being enough fish in the lake.
A judicial commission set up by the Supreme Court to investigate the provincial government’s failure to provide safe drinking water to the people was recently informed that the Manchhar Lake was now polluted and the water in it was laced with arsenic, mercury, magnesium and cadmium.