A two year collaborative project by world beverage giant Coca Cola, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and UN-HABITAT is set to improve the lives of about 300 inhabitants of two coastal communities in Pakistan.
The project, "Water and Environmental Sanitation Improvement in Coastal Communities in Karachi", was launched July 28 and is expected to have significant impact on the residents of Kakapir and Someer villages, some 15 kilometers southwest of Karachi.
The ceremony was attended by government representatives, subject specialists, civil society, private sector, academia, community members and media. Welcoming the participants, Dr. Ejaz Ahmed, Deputy Director General, WWF Pakistan, highlighted the unique nature of the project, in terms of diverse partnership including public and private sector, as well as local NGOs and UN-HABITAT. He mentioned the collective commitment of the partners in reducing water footprint and improve environmental sanitation.
On his part, Mr. Syed Hasan Eijaz Kazmi, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB), an autonomous body, deliberated on their institutional efforts to redress the problem of water and sanitation in urban areas, which generate 470 million gallons of sewage.
Through the project, village residents will finally have access to sustainable and clean water supply. Key advancements will also be made to improve the environmental sanitation of the area and most importantly, public awareness will be created by the residents, majority of whom are subsistence fishermen striving to earn a living.
Because of lack of safe drinking water, the village residents' only hope has been tankers supplying them with daily rations for use and consumption. Lack of efficient sewerage system has forced the resident to install pit latrines which are by nature unhygienic and with frequent overflows bring with them the attendant health risks.
The project, established with an investment of Pakistani Rupees 17.2 million is also supported by Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB).
On behalf of UN-HABITAT Mr. Siamak Moghaddam, Country Programme Manager briefed the audience on the agency's programme in Pakistan, and other activities in the field. He stressed on the need for addressing human settlements and rapid urbanization issues, especially in Karachi, a city he identified as the engine driving Pakistan’s.
Mr. Fahad Qadir, Coca Cola’s Regional Public Affairs and Communication Manager, shared their global commitment for improving the quality of life in less privileged communities, such as the selected villages near Sandspit and Hawksbay Beach. Mr. Hashim, President of Fishermen Development Organization Kakapir Village informed the audience on the impact of ongoing partnership initiatives in nature conservation and community development.