ISLAMABAD-The Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) was facing serious environmental threat due to poor waste management of hill resorts established in the adjoining area of Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Talking to APP, an official of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) said the MHNP’s ecology and water springs were being polluted by over a dozen hill resorts established in the vicinity and adjoining areas of the national park.

These hill resorts were offering a very lavish lodging and other services to the tourists visiting MHNP and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s scenic hill stations whereas they had no proper mechanism for their solid waste management and sewage dumping, hence clearly violating environmental laws, he added.

The IWMB official on condition of anonymity said most of the time the hotels’ staffs were throwing wasted food items in the national park, which had badly disturbed the wildlife habitat and shifts in the movements of the species in Margalla Hills National Park .

He said that there used to be soaking pits developed by any restaurant or hotel to properly manage its municipal waste disposal, however, to the contrary there was no such facility built.

“The springs have been repeatedly found polluted due to liquid waste contamination which testify the situation further. The fresh water flows are a source of water for both humans and wildlife in the national park which helps restoring the bird life as well,” he noted.

When contacted the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-KP) officials deputed in Haripur district said that it was the provincial government’s responsibility to declare the land as forest land in order to control any construction disturbing environment.

“EPA-KP has sealed 26 resorts and hotels in Balakot, Naran and Kaghan Valley for no solid waste management and violations as per environmental laws,” he told APP.

However, the EPA-KP had only two inspectors for single district. There were only two officers appointed in Hazara division against four sanctioned posts, he added.

The official said that they were currently under staff and managing a large area under their jurisdiction including Hatar Industrial estate, Mansehra and Swat marble estate. Moreover, “we were also coordinating with the district administration to deal with the various environmental issues as well,” he said.

EPA-KP staff in Haripur district was recently deputed whereas the agency had been devising mechanism to take the law abettors to task, he said.