World Environment Day celebrated across Gilgit – Baltistan

PT Report

GILGIT, June 06: The World Environment Day (WED) 2011 was celebrated in different parts of Gilgit – Baltistan region. The day is annually celebrated through out the world to raise awareness about importance of natural resources for human beings, their society and our planet Earth. Every year a different unique and catchy theme is selected by the United Nations to drive advocacy and awareness raising activities across the globe.

Organizations regularly celebrate the World Environment Day by conducting seminars, walks and rallies, competitions, games and other activities to popularize the notion of environmental degradation and increase debate in the society about, with a view of diverting collective attention towards finding of strategies and resources for saving the planet.

The planet Earth has been under immense stress due to depletion of resources, pollution of air and water and the resulting change in global temperature, having the potential to wreak havoc with human settlements and populations, a process also known as “Climate Change”.

Gilgit – Baltistan and Chitral, in lieu of their location, are among the world’s most climatically sensitive regions. Nestled between Karakuam, Hindukush, Himayala and Pamir mountain ranges, the region is home to some of the largest glaciers of the world outside the poles. During the last decade a growing emphasis has been laid on preservation of the region’s natural heritage.

In this connection several programs were held by various organizations in different parts of the region.

SERENA HOTEL GILGIT  joined hands with GB EPA, MACDWP, DNN and PCRWR to celebrate the World Environment Day in Gilgit city.

WWF – Saving Wetlands Sky Project (SWSH) and Shandoor Local Support Organization (SLSO) jointly celebrated WED at Government Middle School, in Teru valley of District Ghizer. The event was attended by local community members and government officials, among others.

Karakoram Area Development Organization (KADO) – In Hunza Valley the WED started off in the morning with Walks in Aliabad, Karimabad, and Sost. At the end of the Walk, an event was also organized in Aliabad, in which school children presented colourful programs and representatives of civil society organizations, local and district administration spoke about the importance of environment. Chief Guest Mr. Muhammad-DC Hunza-Nagar appreciated KADO’s efforts in creating environmental awareness and assured his full support. Mr. Khadim Hussain, Deputy Director-EPA Gilgit-Baltistan assured that EPA will fully provide technical and financial support to KADO to further strengthen the solid waste disposal activities and recycling process.

WWF Pakistan Wetlands Programme, Northern Alpine Wetlands Complex conducted an awareness raising, drawing campaign and walk activity on June 05, 2011 for school students at Borth village of Qurumbar valley. More than 100 of school teachers, students, community members and reps of line departments participated in the event. This action will provide an insight into the biodiversity of proposed Qurumbar national park in general and natural forest resources in particular. 

The event started with the recitation of the verses from Holy Quran by Mr. Sonia Bibi and Naat-e-Maqbool by Ms. Naseema and companions of the CBS School Burth village.  Mr. Sherbaz of WWF-P, SWSH, Project acted as the Host of the Session, welcomed the guests and participants, following this, Mr. Tajdar Hussain, NAWC, Gilgit introduced the objectives of the day’s celebrations to the audience and highlighted the importance of the WED with specific focus on forest, highlighting socio-ecological as well as economic services in context of Qurumber valley.

President QSWCDO, while speaking on the occasion highlighted the role of Qurumbar community in conservation. Healthy environment only can sustain the flow of fresh water in the streams, forest and associated natural resources existence.

Ghulam Rasool, General Secretary QSWCDO explained the natural resources potential in the valley and emphasized on conserving it for present and future generations, with special reference to the proposed Qurumbar National Park.

After the inaugural session, a drawing competition was held in which schoolchildren expressed their ideas about natural resources with specific focus on forest and wildlife. The themes of the drawing competition were shared with the selected schools in advance. It was an interschool competition among 4 schools of the area. A total of five groups, representing four different schools of Qurumbar valley with five students in each group, were formed for the competition. Group A (CBS School) from Community Middle School Burth, Group B (D.J Middle School Fiazabad), Group C (D.J Primary School Burth),Group D (D.J middle School Borth) and Group E (D.J Primary School Burth). Trophies, pens and writing pads were distributed among the successful groups of the occasion.

Mr. Bukht Shaiq, Chairman, Local Support Organization Qurumbar Valley in his speech as chief guest explained direct benefits of trophy hunting for the communities for the last 8 years. He emphasized on proper conservation practice of natural resources in their respective areas to increase population of Himalayan Ibex and other wildlife in Qurumbar valley due to ill managed anthropogenic intervention the environment is being depleted day by day. He further added that, it’s our responsibility to take care of our environment to ensure the survival of all living things in a balanced manner. At the end of his speech he demanded and hoped for continuation of awareness raising activities among school students, teachers and community. He also announced cash prize for the winning team of the art completion.

An awareness nature walk was also held to aware the participants about the issue of pollution in the valley with specific focus on water. The walk started from the D.J school middle school Burth, continued up to D.J primary school along the Qurumbar nullah and vicinity of village and ended back at starting point. At the end organizers thanked the Chief Guest, QSWCDO members, teachers, school students, community for their constant patience, and enthusiastic encouragement for successful accomplishment of the event.

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  1. Environment day in Gilgit Baltistan is the sad day for the dirt mired people in cities and proud for the celebrators who eat, talk and walk and do nothing. The polluted city of Gilgit, Aliabad and Sost reflect to celebrate dirty environment day. There is utter lack of toilets in the cities. Markets are urinated by the sugar and Salish tea of frequent sippers and nasty smell from the bellow of walls pervades the atmosphere of the cities. Here there is no sense of cleanliness. Those who come to clean the dirty areas, people have contemptuous glance over them. “Safaai nisf imaan hai “those who chant this slogan are sitting on the dirt. Then what is the justification of celebrating environment day rather than action day. The funding institutions who provide only lunch and hi tea is not enough but provide support to community and government municipal institutions to erect toilets in the core areas where the herd of people produce dirt. And concrete cabins for the trashes. Awareness momentum about environment is implementable in that society where people are educated but here the society is might be literate but not educated, that is why things here go by bullets not ballets.
    Ali Qurban

  2. I do agree with Ali Qurban’s comments– demonstration of action is most desirable. The problems Ali Qurban has mentioned of the towns -Gilgit, Aliabad and Sost.These are real growing problems ( open defecation ) but the scale is small and could be managed with small investment and community managed approaches. It needs serious efforts by civil society organizations if they have the mandate!
    Any concreate action on sanitation front in the towns of GB will justify celebration of enviromental day.


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