Youth cleans up Margalla Hills Trail-5 to mark International Mountain Day

ISLAMABAD: Over 150 students from different universities cleansed up the Margalla Hills Trail-5 on Sunday in connection with the 6th Pakistan Mountain Festival, the annual flagship event by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) to commemorate the International Mountain Day.

The participants collected huge mass of waste including plastic bottles, wrappers, tins, plastics, and shopping bags and food-packing.

The Trail-5 clean up was organised in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Zeeshan Shah, the Deputy Mayor, Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad, was the chief guest, and Dr Imran Hashmi, Dean, Institute of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (IESE), of the NUST was guest of honour.

The MCI Deputy Mayor Zeeshan Shah termed the over whelming participation of youth in the Margalla Hills Trail-5 cleans up as a good sign and maturity of youth towards nature conservation. He said the MCI would come up to the expectations of citizens in making the capital city more clean and green abode.

He said the MCI would encourage citizens’ engagement in the management and improvement of civic facilities. Engaging youth in healthy and environment friendly practices would be one of the priorities for MCI, he said.

Dr Imran Hashmi appreciated the efforts of Devcom-Pakistan for continuing the environmental friendly practices in the odd times too. He said such kind of activities empower youth to take up their leading role in society and at their workplaces.

Pakistan Mountain Festival Director and Executive Director Devcom-Pakistan Munir Ahmed said covering around 22 per cent of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 915 million mountain people around the world, representing 13 per cent of global population, but mountains also indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.

Munir Ahmed said Pakistan is the custodian of several highest altitude mountains, and it is our collective responsibility to take care of the sanctity of the mountains that contribute a major chunk to our livelihood.

He said, “The indiscriminate deforestation by the timber cartels and housing mafia, increasing consumerism and over use of environment unfriendly vehicles and home appliances has increased the carbon foot print causing the climate change. The extreme weathers have to affect more the generation next though the mountain communities in Pakistan have already been facing the worst situations for the last several years.”

Munir Ahmed said the youth belonging to mountainous region needed to feel their responsibility to raise their fearless voices against the exploitation of natural resources on the footsteps of their homes. Reach out to mainstream media with evidences against the culprits, develop and share the research-based stories of the victims of the climate change from the grassroots.

It would help to highlight the climate change impact on the communities that certainly result a change in the policies and the priorities of the respective government and multilateral agencies. Even the smallest action has its own impact and may lead to a bigger change.

One of the participants Riffat Ara Baig said clean-up is a good initiative but the visitors should avoid polluting the mountains. The city managers shall have a surveillance system and the people should be fined for polluting the National Park.

Shaaref Munir said the MCI and CDA shall take vigorous action against the stone crushers and the illegal housing schemes being established in the Margalla Hills National Park. H said the Islamabad Devcom centennial Leo Club with the support of their educational institutions would continue the Margalla Hills trails.

Sabrina, another participant, said our own influential people are involved in the reckless deforestation and the poor villages cannot raise voice against them fearing the enmity and antagonism. Even the media is not very active in all parts of the mountainous region.

Afsana said, female population in most parts of the mountains are only engaged in the domestic work and they have no awareness about the conservation of natural resources and environment friendly practices, they need to be sensitised on it. The young educated girls can do this task if they are engaged in.