Development of Balochistan coastline to help promote sustainable ecotourism: WealthPK

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ISLAMABAD: Development of a 770-kilometre-long stretch of coastline in Balochistan, which will be complete by 2035, will go a long way in promoting sustainable ecotourism, changing the lives of the local population for the better and protecting the marine life.
“Under the plan, beach parks, resorts, rest areas and other recreational sites will be developed,” said Jawed Shaikh, Assistant Director Planning and Development, Balochistan Coastal Development Authority (BCDA).
Talking to WealthPK, he said coconut tree plantation along the coastline is also part of the plan. “A beach park will be built in Kund Malir consisting of 1 to 1 ½ kilometres area, while the Gadani beach park will occupy at least four to five hectares of land.”
Javed Sheikh maintained that BCDA also plans to introduce floating jetties. “Barring the months from June to August (when the tide is high), tourists will be allowed to boat within 1 to 1 ½ kilometres area along the coastline. “All the rest areas along the coastal highway will have fuel stations, restaurants and prayer areas to facilitate the tourists.”
The BCDA official said that developing the coastline of Lasbella district is under particular focus as the area is frequented by a good number of foreign tourists. He added that the project, after completion, will help promote sustainable ecotourism, besides creating job opportunities for the locals.
Meanwhile, talking to WealthPK, deputy director engineering, Sindh Coastal Development Authority (SCDA), Shahryar Akhtar Kazi said multiple projects are in the pipeline along the 330-kilometre-long coastline in Thatta, Badin and Sujawal districts. He added a pedestrian bridge had been constructed to link the Baba and Bhit islands with a view to protecting the aquatic life. “Before the construction of the bridge, motorboats as the regular mode of travel between the islands, created air, water and noise pollution, which was not good for both marine life and humans.”
Shahryar Kazi said SCDA is also working to develop more jetties for both fisheries and tourism purposes. “Starting a ferry service is also part of the project, which will be launched under public-private partnership.”
Kazi maintained studies are being conducted to develop the coasts for local and international visitors.
Talking to WealthPK, director marine operations, Gwadar Port Authority, Captain retired Gul Muhammad said that making a strategic plan for the sustainable development of Pakistan’s coastlines is the need of the hour.
He said coastlines of Pakistan are second to none in natural beauty. “They are most beautiful and clearer than the waters of Bahamas. Clear blue waters of Arabian Sea add beauty to the Pakistani coastline. Marine life can be seen very easily at the depth of at least three to four meters with a naked eye at some coastal places in Pakistan.”
Gul Muhammad said that coastline in Pakistan is long enough, and people visiting them are free to enjoy their privacy with their families same like the private beaches in any country. “Mostly the rock-free clear sands along Pakistani coasts are another source of attraction for beach lovers.”