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Nov 14, 2012 | Health

Experts term Sea Pollution an Atom bomb for Green Turtles species!

Dad Turtle at sandpits sea side Karachi
Dad Turtle at sandpits sea side Karachi

Karachi (NOV 12 ) "My elders believed that turtles are like saints. 60 years back a turtle got entangled in the net of a fisherman Waloo Mallah. He threw it on the road and it died, later he faced many economic losses and begging in the streets and died."

This story was shared by Muhammad Usman -30, a fisherman when this scribed inquired him what is the importance of turtle in your eyes. He further added that he was his father who had heard from his father that this incident had opened the eyes of many others therefore they used to preserve and protect the turtles.

There are such good examples but due to marine pollution, specie of turtle especially green Turtles are under big threat of extinction. He shared that he himself has witnessed that various drains like Layari carrying effluent water from factories and other solid waste is being released in the sea. Which has put the marine life at stake, including these green turtle, which is said to be rare species in the world and only found in Pakistan.

According to data shared by world wildlife fund Pakistan there are eight species of Turtles in all over the world, Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Black turtle (Chelonia agassizii), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Flatback (Natator depressa), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea).In Pakistan there are only four species Green Sea Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and the Lagger Headed Turtle. But unfortunately green Turtles are under threat, because it is only one percent is seen in Pakistan now a day, told Community Development Saveeta khiani.

There are important green turtle nesting and feeding grounds around the whole coast of Africa, India and South East Asia, Pakistan, the entire tropical coastline of Australia and the South Pacific Islands. They are also found in the Mediterranean and occasionally as far north as the coastal waters of Great Britain.

The beaches of Pakistan are some of the most important nesting grounds for the Green Turtles. Each year thousands of female Green Turtles come to the beaches of Hawksbay and Sandpits off the coast of Karachi to lay their eggs. It is also fact that one turtle lay 80 to 120 eggs at one time .for laying the eggs turturles come in sand at off shore, dig the pit in night during September to December and lay its eggs, this process takes two to three hours, if any one disturb it during this process it will postpone the egg process and will go to the sea.

Experts told this scribe that unfortunately out of one thousand eggs, only one baby turtle survive and grow young. Because stray dogs eat many eggs; some get disturbed due to the movement of humans and fail to mature. Eggs convert into baby turtle in 40 to 60 days, and they move towards sea.

An interesting fact is that Turtle mother's never care of their babies, they lay eggs and go back in sea. Laying eggs is first and last contact of turtle to its babies. The females return to the same beaches where they were born and lay eggs there. Migratory Turtles travel 20 to 40 kilometer per day.

Turtles can live for as long as about 80 to 100 years. They lay eggs in the age of 16 years up to 40 years. Whales and other big animals are predators of Turtles. Unaware tourists are also threat for species; as they kill the eggs kicking it and crushing it under their feet. In all over world there are only o.2 million Turtles, all of them remain under threat. They are Dark black-brown or greenish yellow in color and From 80 to 150cm in length and up to 130kg in weight.

Green turtles are the largest of all the hard-shelled sea turtles, but have a comparatively small head. Green Turtle eats exclusively sea grass and seaweed (algae) sub marine plants. These plants are harmful for fishes, because fishes go trapped in these plants and go away from coasts. When turtle eat these plants, then their growth remains in a limit, which is beneficial for growth of fishes, because fish has good contribution in the country's GDP. Fish meet the nutrition need of thousands of people as it provides protein, carbohydrate and other vitamins.

The hunting of turtle in Pakistan is prohibited, however, camel man Usman brohi told that people sitting on the road side hotel approach sea at the evening for Hunting of Turtles. Also due to sea pollution hundreds of Turtle lose their life.

On the sandpits laying a round about four feet dead Turtle. body was scratched and dumped. The entire side swollen and different parts of body damaged and humiliated either by visitors or by stray dogs. According to a white beard man holding camel he told his name Mohd Umair he has seen more than 2 dead Turtle in sandpit site in a week, and these Turtles died due to swelling in abdomen.

"Now we are well aware regarding the importance of sea marine and strive to save the species of Turtles, but unfortunately some people kill Turtles and take out their oil and eggs away. This oil is best for legs and knee pain". Sixty years old fisher women Hajara Hajani told.

While sea side some children were seen with some hooks among them Sajid and Kareem told that they catch kids of Turtles and small fish and sale at some area of Karachi. People purchased to eat it. It was observed that local community was well aware regarding the importance of this specie

Environment Expert Dr.Kamal Hasan told that in Pakistan the big threat to the Turtles is Sea pollution, because urban city release three hundred million gallons wastage daily and thirty seven thousands tons industrial toxic wastage is being discharged into sea. He termed it an Atom bomb for the marine life. “We all have responsibility to save bio-diversity for our coming generation” otherwise coming generation will face food-insecurity and other issues too. He suggested that if they didn't pay any attention towards this serous issue, they will lose their better future. He added that they are high contributors of sea pollution. He deplored that visitors pollute the sea, when they come for picnic on sea side they use to throw a garbage in the sea including polythene bags, when Turtles eat garbage like bottles, tissue papers, and other plastic wastage, ultimately it suffers the death he told.

In an effort to save the turtles of Pakistan, WWF has developed 2 hatcheries near the sandpit sea side. They have trained some local people to go early in morning to sandpit and pickup newly laid eggs of Turtles. They keep it in hatcheries for 40 days before releasing into the sea where it will have an uncertain future.

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