Islamabad-More than 100 students from various universities took part in the cleaning drive at Margalla Hills Trail-5 on Saturday in connection with the 7th Pakistan Mountain Festival, the annual flagship event by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan), to commemorate the International Mountain Day.

The event was supported by the UNDP Pakistan Environment wing, WWF Pakistan and the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (IESE) of the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Islamabad Devcom Centennial Leo Club (IDCLC).

The participants collected a huge mass of waste including plastic bottles, wrappers, tins, plastics, shopping bags and food-packaging thrown by the environment unfriendly visitors of the trail 5.

Speaking on the occasion, Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director and Pakistan Mountain Festival Director Munir Ahmed termed the overwhelming participation of youth in the Margalla Hills Trail-5 clean-up a positive sign. He added that the engagement of youth in environment-friendly practices will become a source for inspiration for others too.

Munir Ahmed said, “The fragile mountain ecosystems are the lifeline of the living species including human beings, and cannot be restored to their natural state if exploited once. Therefore, we need to be more conscious to conserve them.”  

Munir Ahmed said the Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad needs to take notice of the fast degrading Magalla Hills National Parks area spread over three parts of the capital. He said the MCI should make it a priority to encourage citizens’ engagement in the management and improvement of civic facilities.

Covering around 22 per cent of the earth’s land surface, mountains have played a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and well-being to the 915 million mountain people around the world who constitute 13 per cent of the global population, but also benefit the billions more living downstream.

Munir Ahmed said that Pakistan was the custodian of several highest altitude mountains, adding that, “It is our collective responsibility to take care of the sanctity of the mountains which contribute a major chunk to our livelihood. He also pointed out that the indiscriminate deforestation by the timber cartels and housing mafia, increasing consumerism and the over-use of environment unfriendly vehicles and home appliances had increased the carbon foot print causing climate change”.

The extreme weathers will affect the next generation more though the mountain communities in Pakistan have already been facing the worst situation for the last several years.”

Dr Imran Hashmi appreciated the efforts of Devcom-Pakistan for continuing their environment friendly practices and empowering the youth to take up a leading role in society.

Haares Munir, the president IDCLC said the youth belonging to the mountainous region needed to take responsibility and raise voice against the exploitation of natural resources on the footsteps of their homes.

“Reach out to the mainstream media with evidences against the culprits, develop and share the research-based stories of the victims of the climate change from the grassroots. It would help to highlight the climate change impact on the communities that can certainly result in a change in the policies and the priorities of the respective government and multilateral agencies. Even the smallest action has an impact and may lead to a bigger change,” he explained.