By Areej Shahid
So, I recently traveled to Gilgit Baltistan. It was an amazing experience; transformatory and eye opening in so many ways. I enjoyed the clear skies while I prayed every Namaz in a new place, with a new scent surrounding me, and a feeling fulfilment that I experienced as I continued to rejuvenate my relationship with Allah.
I enjoyed every bit of this trip, as we covered several locations. Originally our trip was intended for 8 days but due to land sliding and heavy rainfall we were stuck for another six days. Those 6 extra days gave me some time to reflect upon a few things that I witnessed during my trip.
One thing that saddened me the most was how some of the most beautiful locations seemed awfully dull due the amount of littering and disposable garbage being disposed there, irresponsibility.
One of them was Attabad lake where I saw many plastic bottles and wrappers thrown away just like that. Another location was Naltar, which is a location I find inaccessible due to difficult and long journey but still several people manage to go there, and not just go there but pollute it as well.
I saw pampers thrown in the lakes or right beside them. I felt annoyed at how people can be so irresponsible.
When I went to Astore, I was trying to find a dustbin to throw a tissue but one of the makami kids said just throw it here, that’s our dust bin and this happened twice when I had to throw something but they said you can throw it here. This shocked me and honestly I felt the pain of it physically.
Ever since I returned, I felt a sudden need to do something about it, about the neglectful situation in the north because it is unfair to mother earth. If we are blessed with immense beauty, it is our right to take care of it.
While going to khunjerab pass, I noticed that the road was pretty clean, because the authorities take action in case someone makes the mistake of throwing garbage irresponsibly; they literally stop you and request you not to litter from this point on!
Why can’t they do this when you enter the entire region of Gilgit Baltistan?
Conclusively, after much reflection and thought, I decided to do something about it. I have started an initiative called “Clean The North.” All I need is a few sincere people who will help me literally clean the north, the meadows, the lakes, everything! Basically change the face of it.
In the past few years several countries have decided to clean up their seas, and I think that’s amazing! So, why can’t we clean up a few lakes?
Honestly, there’s no better way to serve the north but by respecting it enough to actually make an effort towards keeping it clean!
Join hands with me in this historical campaign which is a first time, but once it happens this will change the way things work, for good Insha Allah!