The Money Is in the Mud in Pakistan’s Indus River Delta

Source: Hakai Magazine/Suhail Yusuf September 12, 2016 in Environment

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Treading toward the banks of Pakistan’s Indus River Delta, I see the landscape gradually turn from green to barren and the soil become darker and damp—evidence of the sea encroaching on what was once fertile land.

Originating in Tibet, the 2,880-kilometer-long Indus River finally ends at the Arabian Sea. Its fan-shaped delta forms a complex system of islands, marshes, mudflats, mangroves, and creeks here. But the construction of various dams on the river since 1932 has starved the delta’s zigzagged creeks of fresh water and new sediment. As a result, the world’s fifth-largest delta has shrunk from 6,200 to 1,200 square kilometers. Its 17 major creeks are now choked with salty water, and the land around them is eroding.

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Hakai Magazine explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective. The magazine is part of the Tula Foundation and Hakai Institute family. While proudly independent, Hakai Magazine shares the same philosophies as the Tula Foundation, celebrating exploration, discovery, and science. The name Hakai is inspired by the Hakai Lúxvbálís Conservancy, the largest protected marine area on the west coast of Canada, located about 400 kilometers north of Vancouver.

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