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Environmental decline

The pollution of Manchar Lake has had widespread implications. As well as drastically curtailed fish stocks narrators tell of the devastation to birdlife, affecting both food supply and income.

They also cite the loss of reeds and grasses (a source of income from making mats, and of cheap building materials), and greatly reduced crop yields due to waterlogged and polluted soil. Livestock also suffered as fodder supplies were similarly affected.

Allah Bux and Basran explain in detail how the pollution has affected income from fishing, livestock and farming, as well as access to other income-generating resources such as reeds and game.

Drought and polluted pastures have reduced or destroyed livestock holdings for Chhutta (who migrated to Sanghar city) and for Karim Bux, a farmer by Manchar Lake:”Not only was our agriculture destroyed, but our cattle died.”

Khamiso also describes the wider impact of the pollution, especially the loss of reeds and grasses, saying older people now survive on one meal a day.


Environmental decline is a key theme of the Living with poverty: Pakistan oral testimony project.


Allah Bux: older generation

Basran: desperate times

Chhutta: migrant’s tale

Fatima: vulnerable lives

Hodat: diversifying business

Karim Bux: lacking support

Khamiso: looking back

Kishore: living prudently

Mircho: losing dignity

Nasreen: just surviving

Nazeer: high standards

Salma: independent spirit

Key themes

Introduction to the project

Loans and debt

Survival strategies

The cost of poverty

Environmental decline


Political representation


Insecurity and conflict


Food security and health