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18

Seismic survey, oil exploration opposed

The Sindh Wildlife Department has said that the proposed seismic survey...

The Sindh Wildlife Department has said that the proposed seismic survey and oil and gas exploration activities will cause colossal and irreversible damage to the fauna and flora in the Khirthar National Park, it is learnt.

According to sources, the SWD, in its response to the environment impact assessment (EIA), submitted by the Premier-Shell Oil Company, said that the EIA has been conducted by a company that does not even know the basic data of this protected area.

The SWD has pointed out that the EIA -carried out by a Canadian company AMEC Earth and Environmental Limited - had mentioned various species of fauna such as marine turtles, hog deer, gavial, etc, in its EIA list, which did not even occur in the park and showed the company's complete lack of knowledge of the area.

The sources said that Canadian experts spent only a few days - less than a week - in the park and produced four bulky volumes of the EIA report, comprising hundreds of pages, which showed that the entire work, including the most important part of data collection on this important document, had been done in offices.

It said that though the seismic activities would be carried out on over 36 per cent of the high diversity area, the seismic lines, as showed in the plan included in the EIA, would be laid in the form of a network that would cover the entire high diversity areas, including all the sensitive areas from the point of view of zoological, geomorphalogical and botanical importance.

The SWD said that over 100,000 holes, the depth of which would range between 1.7 and nine metres, for explosive-filling, would be dug up and the collective effect of the blasts would be severely damaging for the soil, vegetation and highly endangered and rare species such as the Sindh ibex, urial, etc.

It said that according to the seismic plan, the maximum number of seismic lines are passing through the core area where most of the Sindh ibex, urial and important predator population resided, and if their shelter, feeding grounds and water points were disturbed, it would be irreversible.

It said that the noise of drilling machines, buggies and eventually blasts would be so disturbing that the animals would migrate permanently to adjoining areas in Balochistan or in private lands where they would be poached.


dawn.com