Cooperation of locals and stakeholders on environmental problems of lakes in Sindh, Pakistan

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Since irrigation system had not been introduced in Sindh at that time Indus River had delta and eco-region upto Rohri and Sukkur and simultaneously, numerous tributaries and two main inundated canals such as Nara and main Nara Valley were developed on left and right sides parallel of Indus River which flooded entire fertile lands and forest area The tributaries and both canals were sources of water supply to lakes (dhands) and irrigated lands. The natural depressions (dhands) namely Manchar, Shakoor, Santary, Sahnro, Choleri and the others had been receiving fresh water from Indus River by natural tributaries for maintaining their purity and sanctity. The natural dhands have been source of provisions for local and migratory birds and biodiversity, wildlife and also livelihood for local people.

Hamal Lake has playing vital role like other lakes of Sindh such as Manchar, Shakoor, Santary, Sahnro and Cholri, for providing provisions and homage to local and migratory birds, fish, flora and faun and also wild life. Hamal Lake (locally called Hamal dhandh) is situated in talka Warrah of newly formed Shahdad Kot District. The covered area of lake is about 25km in length and 10 km in width. Hamel Lake originally comprised of three water bodies namely; Sarroh, Badram and Kachhari. On the western side of lake, there is a region of Kachho and row of hills that is called Khirthar Hills (Jabal), which starts from Karachi South and ends at Balochistan North. Hamal Lake is a natural depression which was originally free from contamination and pollution. But due to divergent of highly saline water from area of Balochistan and Upper Sindh through drainage system which caused of contaminated fresh water of lake. This contaminated water has been disposing off through Main Nara valley Drain (MNVD) into Manchar Lake and ultimately outfalls into Indus River.

The participatory meetings were held with local people abut negative environmental impacts. During meeting, they told that their villages, graveyard, historical heritage and fertile lands are under attack of waterlogging and salinity due to seepage from Lake and MNVD. And they demonstrated that there were many negative impacts of contaminated water of Lake and MNV drain. The groundwater of this area is saline; therefore, the contaminated water of lake and drains is being consumed by the local people on one hand, while it has brought under threat thousand acres of fertile. The severity of the twin problem is as high, so salt resistant eucalyptus trees are also unable to sustain.

The Miro Khan drain covers upper Sindh waterlogged and monsoon and Shahdadkot receives saline water of Blochistan and some parts of Sindh Province has been disposing into Hamal Lake. The polluted water of both drains has been discharged into Hamal Lake. The water quality of these drains is highly saline according to the local people. The local masses used water of the drains for drinking, washing, bathing and watering of cattle.

The saline water of this drain has been used for irrigation purposes. There was shortage of irrigation surface of water because this area was tail command area of Warrah branch canal of Northwestern canal system. The local people have excavated channel from Miro Khan drain in spite of knowing that drain water was poisonous/ contaminated. According to the local people that there was no source except of drainage water for irrigating lands.

Local people drank water from the drains that was highly saline, during gathering with local people at zero point of the drains. The local people were drinking water from drains without realization of negative impacts of environment. they felt water was very highly saline. The visit team realized at that might resistance power of the local people digest system of be developed among masses.


The local people told that in spite of familiar with negative impacts of contaminated water of lake and drains that polluted water is being consumed by them. Although many villagers were found suffering from different water-borne diseases, however, there were unable to go town/city hospitals since they were too poor to afford the expenses. Many of them are living much below the poverty line. Therefore, many of them sought local treatment through hakims (unqualified Doctors) and some of them had to pay heavy price of it. This seemed to be big case of the poverty and ignorance.

2.1 The meeting with Fishermen of Hamal Lake:

During interaction and discussion with fishermen they told that this reduction of fish has taken place due to contaminated water of drainage effluent, which has been released in the lake. Owing to the contaminated water many local species of fish have died and have become extinct. As such having a very miserable life.

They informed that fishermen community is badly disturbed due to deterioration of various freshwater bodies/ dhands (lakes) of Sindh Province due to disposal of plluted and saline effluent over the period of time. In this regard they quoted the example of Manchar, Mehroo, Kandan Pateli Dhands and Sanhro, forcing Fishermen to migrate other places for earning heir livelihood. They referenced that fishermen communities depend upon profession of fishing and this situation have severe hardships on them, They also informed that do not use explosive or chemicals for catching fish.

They said that different varieties of fish were caught from lake, such as Paplate, Goj, Khagho, Kurriro, Thelhi, Shakur, Morakhi, Seengari, Jarko, Ghandan and Dhangni (all are local names). They told that all dhandhs of Sindh province have been given on contract (under Thekedari system) to the contractors and also this Hamal Lake is given on contract. Therefore, half share of caught fish went to contractor side and while half to fishermen. Fishermen are bound to sale their due share to contractor not to other body or market. Accordingly, the contractor exploited to fishermen in price of fish. According to fishermen that fish was purchased by contractors on Rs. 10 per kilogram. So this price is very less in the comparison of market price.

The fishermen said that contaminated water of lake not only affected yield of fish but also created various diseases among local people that were available in this area. They told during discussion that water borne endemic diseases have been scattered in the area of Hamal Lake. But there was no Hospital and Dispensary or the other facility of treatment available at close distance. The water bone diseases are common such as Hepatitis, A, B & C, Diarrhea, Tuberculosis (TB), Gastroenteritis, Malaria, Asthma, Respiratory, Fever and etc.

2.2 Meeting with local people near Regulator of Hamal Minor on Flood Protection (FP) Bund

This meeting was held in hut, which is situated on FP Bund close Regulator of Hamal Minor with the local people of different villages. During discussion local people told that there were pros and cons impacts of this lake on the one side while local farmers were worried for fertile lands that came under contaminated water of Hamal Lake. The polluted water of Hamal caused water logging and salinity and which brought adjacent fertile lands, villages and cultural heritage under its effects. Farmers told that many thousand survey numbers lands came under covered area of water of Hamal Lake. Therefore, Farmers were more interest to reduce water level in lake. The local people and fishermen said that water level in lake should be maintained some suitable extent because they depended upon for earning income their families and there was only one source of fishing for earning livelihood. Local people said that all fertile lands and villages were destroyed due to impacts of contaminated water of lake. Therefore freshwater should be released for diluting polluted water of lake.
Water logging and salinity has created socio-economic, physical and cultural problems adjacent area of lake. The infrastructures of communication, roads, lanes, homes, graveyards, tombs and pastures of cattle have been devastated due to waterlogging and salinity. Therefore local people have suffered lot of twin problem. The adverse environmental impacts of lake created impediment social and cultural activities.

Local people said that construction of RBOD parallel eastern side of Hamal Lake and FP Bund, which will provide remedial measures for reclamation and improvement of affected lands and the other cultural heritage.

The local people told that adverse environmental conditions have been created around the lake owing to contaminated water. They told the visiting team that various endemic water borne diseases were common in the adjacent villages, such as Hepatitis, A, B & C, Diarrhea, Tuberculosis (TB), Gastro, Malaria, Asthma, eye disease, Respiratory, Fever and etc.

2.3 Interaction and Discussion with People of Hamal Village

Hamal village was situated south west of Hamal Lake, which was about two centuries old village according to local people. The population of village was about two thousand. The village has facility of communication of metal road. This road leads from Warrah town to western side of Hamal Lake to different villages and Kachho.

The buildings of primary school and Basic Health Unit (BHU) were built. The villagers said that before this event of people death, no Doctor or Dispenser visited regularly dispensary for consulting and treating of patients, but after this event one dispenser was available for treatment of local people.

The local people told that in this area ground water was highly saline, therefore there was only one source of drinking and the other purposes for people as well as livestock was contaminated water of Hamal Lake. The villagers were anxiety and worried about fresh water

The local people told that their earning source of livelihood is only cultivation of lands. They told the visiting team that they had been applied water for growing crops through lift machines from Hamal Lake. They told that there about 100 lift machines had been installed for pumping water from lake to lands. They said that our lands had been damaged due to contaminated water of lake.



The command area of Guddu and Sukkur barrage is relatively flat and in general slope away towards south as well as towards west from the river up to Nara Valley. However, further west the land rises again towards the Khirthar Hills. The Nara Valley forms the natural drainage line, forming boundary between Indus alluvium in the east and piedmont deposits in the west. In this depression lies the Main Nara Valley Drain (MNVD) constructed at the same time as Sukkur Barrage, in 1932. MNVD connects the two natural depressions i-e Hamal Lake to the north and Manchar Lake to the south and was aimed at carrying flood flows from Hamal Lake to Manchar lake as well as escape flows from the Rice canal via the Pitchered Escape. With the passage of time, the need for provision of drainage grew stronger in order to realize the benefits of agriculture (Brohi).

The regulator structure of Main Nara Valley Drain (MNVD) has been constructed on the southeastern side of Hamal Lake near the Warrah to Hamal Village road. This structure comprises five gates; gates cross-section area was about 15 feet width and 20 feet height. This structure is used for releasing flood and contaminated water from Hamal lake into MNVD. The cross-section area with berm was about 500 feet. The huge amount of water was discharging into MNVD, which ultimately made outfall into Manchar Lake.


i) Shahdad Kot Drain received water of catchments of surface and vertical drainage network of Jacobabad and Usta Muhammad Balochistan and polluted water. Miro Khan drain got surface and vertical drainage system of the Larkana and Shikarpur. The polluted water of both drains has been disposing off at zero point of Miro Khan into Hamal Lake.

ii) The contaminated and polluted water of Shahdad Kot and Miro Khan Drains were being released into Hamal Lake, which has destroyed ecosystem, biodiversity, flora and fauna in water bodies.

iii) The local people not only adjacent area of Hamal Lake used water of these drains but the people residing parallel of upstream of both drains wherefrom these drains passed they consumed this polluted water for drinking as well as livestock multipurpose.

iv) In line with analysis undertaken at upstream of Shahdad Kot and Miro Khan drains at Zero points regulator structure and downstream where both drains water mixed in Hamal drain were EC 7770, 16230 and S/cm, Total Dissolved Salts (TDS) 4973, 10387 and 7884 mg/L, Chlorides12320  1560,2828 and 2056mg/Land Sulfate 1071.4,2073.8 and 1457.2 respectively and further parameters are given table. From these parameters of analyzed, showed that water is very highly polluted.

v) The Sample of Sarroh water body has been carried out this dhand received contaminated water of Kot Magsi of Balochistan via Qambar town of Sindh province. According to analysis of sample parameters of this lake are deteriorated. Electric Conductivity (EC) 10340 S/cm, Total Dissolved Salts (TDS) 66617.7mg/L, Chlorides 1462.5 mg/Land and Sulfate 2712 respectively and further parameters are given table. TDS showed that there are highest salts in Sarroh dhand that dangerous only for testing.

vi) This contaminated water had reached from both drains to Hamal Lake. The drains have polluted Hamal lake water. This contaminated water of lake has been used for drinking of people, watering livestock multipurpose and irrigating of lands for growing crops. Therefore, this contaminated water of lake caused of many diseases and destruction of fertile lands.

vii) The sample collected from upstream and downstream of Regulator structure of MNVD which was constructed southeastern of lake and near by Warrah and Hamal village. These samples showed water is highly contaminated its Electric Conductivity (EC) 5300 S/cm, Total Dissolved Salts (TDS) 3392 and 10822.4 mg/L, Chloridesand 16910 respectively and further important parameters are given table-II. This contaminated has brought adjacent area on both side of MNVD under impacts.

viii) During discussions of local people at Hamal Lake, they told that degraded water of lake is not only cause creating water borne disease but it has destroyed rich forest of Hamal Lake and brought huge area of fertile lands its impacts. It has smashed villages, graveyards and cultural heritage.

ix) The contaminated water of Hamal Lake has been released through Main Nara Valley Drain (MNVD) to Manchar Lake via Indus River. Therefore, this polluted water of Hamal Lake in the MNVD has caused of death of local fish, available reeds and other vegetation and also flora and fauna.

x) According to local people that Main Nara Valley Drain (MNVD) was rich with different local kinds of fish and various types of vegetations were available on both side embankment of MNVD but there is no local fish and flora and fauna in the drain. They told that drain has been converted from fresh to poisonous water which caused of various water borne diseases, adjacent area of drain.

xi) The accumulated water in Manchar Lake belongs to Hamal Lake. The MNVD drain has played role of interconnecting between Hamal Lake and Manchar Lake. Accordingly, there may be not much difference of polluted water of Hamal and Manchar Lake.

xii) The contaminated water not only caused degradation of environmental but it has affected ground water table. The ground water has been converted worsted conditions due to effluent water of drains and water bodies.

xiii) If this effluent water will be transferred through RBOD-II which has been under progress of construction work in Riverine area in the right side of Indus River course. This degraded water may be seepage from RBOD-II into Indus River course, which will lead to pollute water of upstream of Kotri barrage. This may cause of many water borne endemic diseases due to consumption of water for human beings.

xiv) Actually all points are considered that there are effluent of Balochistan and Shahdad Kot and Miro Khan drains have contaminated Hamal Lake water. The polluted of Hamal Lake water has been transferred to Manchar Lake which deteriorated fresh water of Manchar Lake. While contaminated water of Manchar has been diverted into Indus River, which made filthy water of Indus. Therefore, this polluted water has been flowing like circulation of blood through arteries and veins in the whole body of human beings as well as other soul creation of universe. Accordingly, this polluted water of Balochistan and upper Sindh has played crucial role like blood cancer.

xv) It is cleared fact that there is no doubt that all water borne diseases not only adjacent area of Hamal lake but wherefrom effluent of Balochistan and both drains cross in Larkana and Shahdad district and from Hamal to Kotri Barrage has fall prey victim of diseases, such as hepatitis, A, B & C, Diarrhea, Tuberculosis (TB), Gastro, Malaria, Asthma and an other water born diseases etc.


1. Sohag, Mahessar etal. Conducted (2005), on pollution on Indus Waters and the Drainage System of Sindh, published paper in proceedings of Environmentally Sustainable Development in International Conference, held by Department of Environmental Science, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbotabad.
2. Report on “Environmental Degradation of Hamal Lake and adjacent areas due to the effluent of Balochistan & Upper Sindh Areas”. By EMU-SIDA, May, 2005.
3. WWF 2000, Environmental Pollution Unit, WWF, Pakistan.
4. White Paper 1997, White Paper on Environmental Management Policy Department of Environmental affairs and Tourism.

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