Karachi remains a city by the sea when it could be so much more – only if it became one with the sea.
The neglect that the city’s coast has suffered is highlighted by the fact that there isn’t a single pier with recreational facilities for the public.
In this atmosphere of apathy, Yousaf Ali has taken it upon himself to look after the coral reef near Churna Island, located off the coast of Mubarak Village, which is near the border of Sindh and Balochistan.
“Back in 1979, I was on my way to work when I heard an advertisement on the radio about scuba diving.
I turned around at that moment and now I’ve been doing this for over 30 years,” said Ali, speaking at his office in the Karachi Scuba Diving Centre (KSBC).
Here, he teaches Karachi’ites as well as expatriates how to scuba dive and take care of the marine environment.
He said that one reason why people don’t take part in water sports is because they have an “unknown fear of the ocean and water.”
Many people take a dip during the monsoon season when the sea is inhospitable and swimmers encounter mishaps.
This makes the public perceive the open water as a dangerous space. Another reason why scuba diving hasn’t taken off in Pakistan is because it is expensive.
“People who can afford it aren’t interested and those who are interested [in scuba diving] can’t afford it,” said Ali, adding that expatriates are more interested in exploring the underwater world.