More than 500 participants, mostly students from various CDGK schools of North Karachi and Kemari Towns, VWVF Community Girls School, Kaka Pir Village, and the staff of WWF and Sindh Wild Life department gathered November 14, 2006 at Sandspit Karachi for a beach cleaning exercise. The activity was organized by WWF as a part of the Indian Ocean South East Asia (IOSEA) 'Year of Turtle 2006' programme, with the support of SSGC.
Pakistan is a signatory to the IOSEA Agreement on conservation of marine turtles. Marine turtles are species of special concern included in the WWF strategic plan. Globally there are eight species of marine turtles and they are all classified as endangered. Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) are the two species of marine turtles that nest along the Sandspit beach at the Karachi coast. These species are also listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Pakistan is also a signatory to CITES, which prohibits trade in turtles, turtle parts and eggs. The Government of Sindh has also declared Marine Turtles as 'protected' species. Engr. Naeem-ur-Rehman Akhoond, SGM (MS) was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, he appreciated WWF's efforts for nature conservation and highlighted SSGC's commitment and contribution to this cause. He emphasized on expediting efforts for the protection of the environment through public awareness and assured of SSGC's cooperation to WWF and all the others concerned, to make an impact in this respect. Syed Ghulam Qadir Shah, Conservation Manager-Sindh, WWF-Pakistan thanked SGM (MS) for SSGC's support. He also thanked all the participants including the teachers and students of CDGK Schools, community members of the Kaka Pir Village, Sindh Wildlife Department, the Education Dept., CDGK, and media for their support to WWF in its effort for nature conservation. Nuzhat Siddiqui, Coordinator of CDGK for Environmental Education and Adnan Hamid Khan, representative of Sindh Wildlife Department also spoke on the occasion and vowed to continue efforts for the conservation of nature. Sandspit is a globally important site for marine turtle nesting. WWF, with the support of various public and corporate sector organizations, including SSGC, has been endeavouring to save the marine turtles that come to nest in the area.
The beach is sandy and the nesting habitat is concentrated along a 5 km stretch. Sindh Wildlife Department has been implementing a marine turtle conservation programme at the Karachi coast. WWF initiated its turtle conservation activities at the Karachi coast after establishing a Wetland Centre at the Sandspit beach.