Published On: Thu, Oct 29th, 2015

Sea level rise: Education a distant dream for children in Karachi

Asad Dablo with his two friends are out of school, because their parents cannot afford their education

Asad Dablo with his two friends are out of school, because their parents cannot afford their education

Nosheen Hussain

KARACHI: Eight-year-old Asad Dablo with his two friends is sitting beside a huge-sized pond filled with seawater in the historical coastal fishermen settlement of Karachi, the Dabla Mohala of Ibrahim Hyderi. Upon asking why he and his friends are not attending school, he says the only school in the area submerged due to high tide, and is closed for months. “The other nearest school is three kilometres from our village,” says Dablo.

Located just on the edges of the Arabian Sea, the settlement is suffering due to sea level rise. Village elders say three decades ago the seawater was around 200 yards from the village, but now it is almost touching the residential huts.

Barefoot Asad, who seemed more mature than his age, reveals life has changed in recent years.
He is the eldest among three siblings, and holds the responsibility of earning bread and butter for the family.

“My father is a fisherman, and few years back we had a good financial status. But then he couldn’t find fish in the sea,” he says. “I wanted to go to school but my mother says go to work so we can meet our ends.”

Since then, Asad is working, and makes Rs5,000 ($50) a month for working twelve hours a day.

Asad’s family is not the only one who faced problems after the reduction of fish stock in the sea. The entire fishermen communities living along the coastline are suffering from sea level rise. They have no other option or skill to opt for, resulting in a worst financial situation leading towards inability to continue their children’s education.

According to Muhammad Ali Shah, chairman Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), an association working for the welfare of fisher communities, Pakistan has a coastline of 700km, out of which Sindh shares 350km of which Karachi owns 129km. As many as two million people live along the Pakistan coast, with one million of them in Karachi alone.

“Sea level rise has caused the temperature of sea to increase. Uneven flow of river Sindh into the delta is causing migration of fishermen since 1956,” he says. “We have stopped the river behind dams and distracted their move in their natural and usual direction by forcing them to stop at our desirable points. Naturally, river will react and this reaction is disastrous.”

Located just on the edges of the Arabian Sea, the settlement is suffering due to sea level rise

Located just on the edges of the Arabian Sea, the settlement is suffering due to sea level rise

Increasing sea levels have swallowed more than 3.5 million acre of land and hundreds of villages by making it unproductive, adds Shah.

The PFF chairman says the world had 5,000 big dams in the 1950s but till 2000 there were 50,000 of them – all because of speedy construction and developmental work in urban areas.

Fishermen have no other means to survive; hence their children have to join their hands to share some financial responsibility, which destroys their childhood and education becomes a distant dream.

Masood Lohar, representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), says the Indus Valley Civilisation is facing ecological changes since years.

“In 1935, water used to reach the sea through almost 150 million acre feet (MAF). In 1950, it became 80MAF and the slope went down to 1MAF in 2001.”

This is because of the construction of Tarbela, Mangla and many other dams.

Senior Manager WWF-Pakistan Shahzadi Tunio says sea level rise has caused huge displacement in coastal areas of Pakistan.

“Most of the agricultural land in Thatta, Badin and Sujawal districts has become non-productive due to sea intrusion,” she says. “Besides, drinking water resources have been depleted, leaving many people vulnerable.”

Tunio adds that reduced livelihood resources have compelled many people to migrate to other areas creating food insecurity.

Standing Committee of Senate for Science & Technology submitted its report four months ago, saying Thatta and Badin will sink within 30 years whereas Karachi is expected to be submerged in next 60 years in the current ecological system. But there is no follow up or action taken on the report.

Migration of the fishermen community is still continuing from Thatta and Badin. Most of them have come to Karachi’s Ibrahim Hyderi. The question remains, will their children be able to go to school again?

This article has been published in arrangement with NCEJ as part of its training in Karachi on “Reporting impacts of climate change on communities”

About the Author


Displaying 90 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Its really a thought provoking article, I have not thought in that direction before. Thank You for contributing.

  2. Ali Raza says:

    Great information indeed.

  3. I didnt know before that sunrise has such devastating & longterm effects even on education, good contribution.

  4. Rozina says:

    Good work, Keep it up.

  5. Ali Manjothi says:

    Really got good info through it !

  6. Muzammil says:

    Thought provoking !

  7. Government should take serious measures to work on the issue.

  8. Hadia Khalil says:

    Looking forward to more write ups.

  9. Zahid Islam says:

    & there are many issues like this here, unfortunately we are ignoring all!

  10. A well written piece. Much to think about. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. Must say very informative.

  12. Must say very informative and creative attempt the way you cover the story

  13. Hammad Saleem says:

    Great it’s very informative

  14. Sajida Ahmad says:

    I didn’t know before the effect of change in climate on the’s so informative and there is a great impect of an excellent research.

  15. Well written piece of work !

  16. Dr. Sayeda says:

    Keep up the good work !

  17. Shafaq says:

    Nice nash all these facts are eye opener for all of us

  18. Quite informative .. Our higher institutions must look forward for the better resources and education of one.

  19. Farheen says:

    More work should be done in this regard !

  20. Truly an inspiring story !

  21. Scary statistics. Authorities need to pay attention.

  22. very nice story belongs to basic human rights of education..children who live at coastal area,they have not gotten proper education facilities and rights.

  23. Sadia Khalil says:

    Wonderful facts revealed.

  24. Thank you for sharing these updates, worth reading !

  25. Usman Khalil says:

    More stories like this should be shared.

  26. Education is really a distant dream for majority of our country.

  27. Keep up the good work

  28. Saad Enwar says:

    Thought provoking story, need to work a lot.

  29. I was not aware of the fact that environment has such devastating effects on different aspects of life. I wish our media would cover more such issues.

  30. Environmental issues are not being covered by traditional media. A huge dilemma it is.

  31. Rabia Baloch says:

    Got to know many new things through this article. Thanks for sharing.

  32. I must say its an eye-opener. We should take the issue seriously rather than just taking it for granted.

  33. Ulfat Baloch says:

    Looking forward to read more such material.

  34. M. Nawaz says:

    “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
    I strongly believe on this quotation of Gandhi.

  35. Saad Iqbal says:

    Environment is a badic factor of our life which we are ignoring at large.

  36. Nazish Islam says:

    We need the tonic of wildness. In short, Save environment.

  37. Omaima Baig says:

    We should “Go Green”

  38. Umair says:

    To save the environment, we should go for “Plantation”

  39. Huma Khan says:

    We should care about the mother nature. It is creating our life while we are destroying it.

  40. Tania says:

    This can be a good step to provide the basic information about the real issues. But there is a long way to go. More things are need to be done.

  41. Environment is affecting every single part of our life, every single angle is being changed through it so it should be given that much importance in order to make our life better.

  42. Burhan says:

    Environment should be considered a particular full flash beat in all print and electronic media outlets to raise these important issues on continuous basis.

  43. Gada Hussain says:

    Wish you learn more on environment issues.

  44. Shahbaz Gul says:

    Disappointing situation it is, Dont know from where we should start.

  45. Mother Nature should be provided great care !

  46. Ali Raza says:

    I wonder , environment has such direct as well as indirect effects. This issue might not be seem to have a direct relation with environment but indirectly it is caused by it. Wish for the quick progress.

  47. Sagar Samy says:

    Great information shared, strong measures required to overcome the issue.

  48. preeti sen says:

    Worth reading. Looking forward to read more such material.

  49. Kashaf Tariq says:

    There is doubt that environment can change entire life in a continent. We should take serious steps before it gets too late.

  50. Abdul Quddus says:

    Rightly said that,
    “What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”

  51. Noman Tunio says:

    Beauty of the earth will remain forever only if we care.

  52. Ramsha Akmal says:

    I wish we could learn something from these realities and we would then implement our learning

  53. M. Taha says:

    A good learning point

  54. Hunain says:

    Looking forward to read more such material here

  55. Kainat says:

    Alarming situation.
    Nice story

  56. Sughra says:

    I wish we could value environmental issues and its importance in our life.

  57. Maryam says:

    I wonder environment has such devastating effects indirectly on such fields

  58. Salman says:

    We are living in the era of high intensity of climate change but unfortunately we are counting it an important issue and there are many others who don’t consider it !

  59. Shahan says:

    Mother nature should be respected in all manner.

  60. Your Name... says:

    I do not want to protect the environment, I want to create a world where environment does not need protection !

  61. Samia Khan says:

    You cannot protect environment unless you empower and inform people.

  62. Abdul Samad says:

    Rightly said that if we cant sustain environment , we cant sustain ourselves.

  63. Muntazir says:

    I love the Greek Proverb,
    “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

  64. Waseem says:

    Environment is a mutual interest.

  65. Usama Khan says:

    Nature should be near to human heart. It should be compulsory subject at all educational levels to create awareness on the sensitive issue.

  66. Asim says:

    Saddened side of the coin !

  67. Yasir says:

    Knowledge, passion is required to understand the depth of the issues.

  68. Syed says:

    We are wasting resources our future can use !

  69. Aamir says:

    More and more work should be done in this regard.

  70. Ali Zeeshan says:

    Depressing realities and facts.

  71. Faraz Ahmed says:

    Nice information on environmental issue.

  72. We should now think beyond the dimensions , otherwise we will stand no where.

  73. Noor Khan says:

    Well done but more is required so far to improve the real situation and to consider the ground realities !

  74. Qurat Khan says:

    Good work, keep it up !

  75. Marvi Baloch says:

    Eye opener it is, wish the authorities can now open their eyes and use their resources for the improvement.

  76. Aisha Lateef says:

    Go green , Be beautiful !

  77. Good sharing , keep up the good work !

  78. Tooba says:

    One issue, thousands of effects & side-effects !

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