Environmental Degradation in Gilgit-Baltistan

Gomal Amin 

Environmental degradation is the decay of the earth through consumption of assets, for example, air, water and soil and the elimination of natural life. Environmental degradation is one of the Ten Threats formally advised by the “High Level Threat Panel” of the United Nations.

The disintegration of environment and biological community in Gilgit Baltistan is straightforwardly identified with the sudden utilization of common assets, deforestation, and contamination from Small Industries, car fumes, expanding populace development, urbanization and from Use of chemical fertilizers. These activities will causes softening and melting of glacial masses, Damage to delicate biological systems, Loss of beneficial farming terrains, Resettlement of extensive population, Accelerated urbanization, Introduction of air, water and soil pollution.

There are many problems in Gilgit Baltistan which are impacting the environment in negative aspect. Some of them are discussed below.

When we cross the twin bridges of chinnar Bagh and enter Konadas there is open dumping site where all kind of waste gathered from Gilgit and close-by territories are dumped here. This waste incorporates hospital waste, commercial waste, small industrial waste and hazardous toxic waste. This dumping site is wellspring of numerous infection and contamination which is pulverizing the slick and clean environment of Gilgit city. There is no legitimate administration of waste transfer which demonstrates the lack of awareness of government and nearby civil society.

Critical issue which ought to be in our attention is the development of dams in Gilgit-Baltistan prompting leakage, mudslides and migration of effected people. Given the way that Gilgit-Baltistan has exceptionally scanty vegetation and an insignificant backwoods spread, such mudslides piece waterways and streams and cause huge scale surges. Therefore such a fragile ecosystem cannot afford to bear environmental consequences. Seven dams are under thought including the mighty ‘Diamer-Basha Dam’ which will deliver 27500 MW of electric power for Pakistan, and after the finishing these dams will uproot individuals and break their hundreds of years old association with their inborn area and civilization.

With the advancement in technology, living standards of people and economic intercessions in the local area in the most recent thirty years, it has affected the environment in unfriendly way prompting continual avalanches, frigid upheavals, flashfloods and rock shifts. Today the Glaciers are retreating at disturbing speed and harming the Agriculture sector. In last few years Pakistan has seen the most exceedingly bad floods of History which really begins from the mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan. This is because of the heavy rainfall which prompted flood. The major factors behind the heavy rainfall and flood include construction of mega projects like dams, formation of natural lakes, industrial zones, construction of KKH, bridges and development of mining sites. The projects have so far attracted thousands of foreign workers, with their equipment and vehicles, adding to increased temperature, pollution in the rivers, glaciers and other sources of drinking water.

Another issue of consideration is Timber mafia which in Gilgit Baltistan is at crest, illicit cutting and deforestation of pine woods in areas of Dimer and Astore will aggravate the delicate natural wildlife and environment of area. Government of Gilgit Baltistan ought to make a move against the mafia or else the meager woodland will be varnished. There must not be aimless cutting of trees on the grounds that it will prompt Ecological imbalance. Rather, we should know the value of tree plantation and should plant trees as many as we can in our surrounding area.

It is recommended and request competent authority of Government and NGOs to take emergency measures against the deformation in our environment. This can be done by educating the local people about the disposal of the waste in proper manner, should know the benefits of Plantation, and use of resources sustainably. Government should make legislation to stop timber mafia and start the environment impact assessment of dams and establish environmental monitoring unit in all districts of Gilgit Baltistan. The EPA-GB should Educate the local farmers, citizens specially Youth about the environmental pollution and its impacts on community and environment. NGOs should properly establish the Forest Protection Committees in all villages especially in Chilas, Skardu and Astore. Apart from this government should start environmental awareness program and make it as part curriculum for primary and secondary level.

The contributor is a student of Environmental Sciences at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad. He can be reached via gomalhunzai@gmail.com and www.facebook.com/gomalhunzai

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  1. These issues have been part of GB for many years now, and unfortunately no action undertaken. What happened to all those village committees for which AKRSP became famous? Were they not supposed to organize groups to plant trees etc?

    Would like to mention the efforts of Wali Mohamad, Sherqilla, whose periodic plantation activities with the local boyscouts have changed reforested barren mountain slopes. Talking is easy,why not take action? Ever individual has to contribute.

  2. Dear Halga,

    — Just sharing a single example from GB not support the idea as highlighted the Young Writer here. AKRSP done a major works on the immediate idea you shared “Plantation” The VO of a single village I am sharing was 80,000/- of village MOORKHOUN in year 1988-99. Till today the numbers are in millions, here the one I just shared for your information. AKRSP DONE MIRICALES FOR THE PEOPLE OF GB in all areas of life and betterment of the Society as whole.

    1. The issue was plantation and organising communities. However Mr.Toojik claims that massive plantation was undertaken by AKRSP therefore the question arises what happened in the non Ismaili areas?

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