ISLAMABAD                 -       Murree hill station, once famous for its overwhelming beauty of nature and greenery, is nowadays struggling with the escalating litter and garbage.

Coronavirus in almost all parts of the world has brought the environment to a better position than before. Owing to the shutdown of all kinds of industries and factories all over the world, a massive fall was observed in both harmful emissions released in the air by these industries and the garbage or wastage produced during production.

However, in case of Murree, the situation seems to be completely opposite. Despite the closure of factories and businesses, litter is seen at almost every spot. The beauty of Murree lies in its forests which are being transformed into littering plastic. The breath-taking view of greenery and nature is all eaten up by the litter thrown by either tourists or residents themselves.

Unlike rest of the cities where there is a proper system of garbage disposal, most parts of the hill station are yet to see a plan for dumping of garbage and have also not recognised any dumping spot for all the littering plastic. Assistant Commissioner Murree Zahid Hussain when contacted told this correspondent that the civil administration of Murree is currently planning to address this issue of high importance.

Hussain said that although there is a cleaning system for the city part of the hill station but there is no effective mechanism in place to ensure collection of waste and litter from the rural areas of Murree.

This negligence by the authorities of Murree on part of the proper disposal of litter has encouraged people to throw garbage anywhere they want.

Talking with this correspondent, a member of the Forest Department of Murree stated that the city neither had a system of proper disposal of litter nor the authorities here have declared any dumping site for the garbage.

The official stressed that because of no check and balance by the authorities, both tourists and residents become carefree regarding throwing garbage anywhere they want.

When questioned about the imposition of fines, the member of forest department said that there was no coordination between the local departments of Murree such as the Municipal Cooperation Department and the Assistant Commissioner’s Office. The official stressed that owing to the lack of cooperation between the departments, the authorities were unable to take any action against the troublemakers.

Further, the concerned residents of the hill station are also frustrated with the increasing litter thrown in the forest and roadsides. Talking to The Nation, Jaan Muhammad said that the forest of Murree is witnessing growth in different types of species of plants and flowers which had gone absent in the recent years as the residents used to pluck them in great numbers and make decorative accessories for tourists. However, despite of different colourful flowers seen in the forest this year, the smell of garbage and litter thrown in the forest overtakes the beauty of the forest, said Jaan.

Another resident, Taimoor Abbasi told this correspondent that the rest houses and hotels in Murree were equally responsible for the spilling garbage. Taimoor said that the hoteling businesses in Murree were hiring cheap local labour for the collection of garbage from the hotels. Taimoor explained that the cheap labour,  caught a few times for throwing garbage in forests and roadsides, are not answerable to the authorities as they are tasked (for a few pennies) under the command of different hotel owners who are never seen on the frontline and therefore, cannot be held accountable.

However, talking with The Nation, AC Murree stated that the administration is now planning to involve Union Council officials of the rural areas to ensure that the beauty of the hill station remains unaffected.

The official also stated that their department was already working on planting fruit trees in the rural areas of Murree and has also initiated the project of Clean and Green Murree. In addition, the official also stated that they had planted 3.5 lakh fruit trees in the jungle and were planting more every day.