By Syed Tajdar Hussain
The Pakistan Wetlands Programme head office, Northern Alpine Wetlands Complex, site office and its Field office Chitral and Gilgit Baltistan Regional Operations Base along with other partner organizations i.e. Seed Programmed and Gilgit Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency jointly conducted a solid waste management and awareness raising activity during the Shandur Polo festival on July 7-9 2010 at the Shandur wetlands complex.
The purpose of the activity was proper collection and segregation of bio-degradable and non-degradable material, disposable of solid waste management and awareness raising among the visitors of the polo festival.
The PWP staff along with its partners successfully completed the assigned task and disposed off approximately 3000 kg organic solid waste in a selected landfill site to the southeast of the Shandur wetlands complex. The GB-Forest, Wildlife and Parks Department, Seed Programme,EVK2CNR,Gilgit Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency (GB-EPA), Shandur Local Support Organization Teru (SLSO Teru) were not participate physically, but provide moral and financial support from the very begging to
the end of the festival at Shandur. The reps along with volunteers of Shandur Welfare Society (SWSL) Laspur, Chantar Walfare Society Broghil, officials of Forest and Wildlife Department Khibarpakhtonkha, were fully involved and gave their enthusiastic support during the solid waste clean up from Shandur and awareness raising at the final day of the polo between Chitral club and Lawari Clab on July 9, 2010
The EVK2CNR, Seed Programme Gilgit donated 90 dustbins (drums) for installation at different points around the Shandur festival vicinity.
The Pakistan Wetlands Complex site office Northern Alpine Wetlands Complex selecting appropriate landfill site and volunteers from Northern Citizen Board Chitral and SWSL dig out the landfill site. PWP, EVK2CNR, Seed Programme and GB EPA provide bags to the volunteers and shopkeepers to use them for dumping their rubbish.
Other local polo visitors joined the wetlands team as volunteers and helped during the clean up of the solid waste.
An eco check post was also established at the entrance point of both Gilgit and Chitral side where staff from Khibarpakhton Kha province wildlife department were deputed to distributed awareness raising material including stickers, posters, leaflets, brushers among the visitors of the polo festival.
The wetlands team provided white color T-shirts, caps, bright yellow jackets and to the volunteers during the polo festival. These all staff has printed messages with the logos of partner organizations and slogans on bright yellow jackets i.e. Wetlands Warriors and Shandur lake picture on white T-shirt. Wetlands volunteers organize an awareness walk from one site of the Polo Ground to another site with raise slogans in the final match of the festival i.e Shanduro Bach Kro, Shandur Bachawo and Save Shandur .
The bright yellow jacket, cap and white shirts really make a distinction the whole wetlands team and volunteers from the entire crowd during the polo festival.
Awareness raising campaigns, presentations and meetings with Shopkeepers, Chitral Scouts and other polo visitors were also conducted.
Banners printed both in Urdu and English with environmental messages were installed at different key points. the Pakistan Wetlands Progemme also established a Wetlands Information Center at Bazaar Area where awareness raising material distributed to the visitors. The wetlands also talked to the shopkeepers and other visitors to requested them to keep the shandur clean, use the dust bins provided to them accordingly organic in to the green bucket, other in red bucked and inorganic rubbish into the ligt blue dustbins .
Public messages were announced from the commentary box during all polo matches about keeping the lake and other sites clean. The Pakistan Wetlands Programme staff along with volunteers headed back after the final collection of rubbish and its proper disposal in the landfill site.