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April 11, 2019

150 volunteers purge Pir Sohawa of litter

Islamabad

April 11, 2019

Islamabad : Under the Prime Minister’s campaign of ‘Clean & Green Pakistan,’ the SMEC Oil & Gas in collaboration with Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), students and civil society members organised a clean-up of Pir Sohawa Road viewpoints on Margalla Hills on Wednesday.

Islamabad has beautiful surroundings including the Margalla Hills National Park. There are many viewpoints on the Pir Sohawa Road from where one can witness breath-taking views of the twin cities. Unfortunately, due to the apathy of visitors, the viewpoints have become littering grounds. People bring bags full of consumables and leave behind plastic shoppers, food, soda cans, bottles, and other non-biodegradable materials. The litter is not only an eyesore and a blot on the reputation of one of the most beautiful capitals of the world, but it also presents an immediate danger to natural environment of the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP).

The event was a big success as around 150 volunteers from all walks of life, including families, university students, employees of various private companies and IWMB forest guards participated and cleaned the viewpoints in about two hours.

Secretary Environment, Hassan Nasir Jamy was the chief guest.

Tassadaq Malik, Managing Director of SMEC Oil & Gas in his address said that SMEC volunteers along with university students had conducted many such clean-up activities. “Today we are proud to announce that trails on the MHNP are clean and attracting the majority of visitors, tourists, hikers and families to come and enjoy the serenity of Margalla Hills. SMEC under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has always been a top performer.”

He said that their focus was to protect and preserve the MHNP. “Our voluntary efforts have received global recognition from “Temasek Holding and SJ Group of Singapore. For the first time in Pakistan, we introduced a pilot project of seed balls and produced 30,000 seed balls of various trees species. This project is now further enhanced to target 100,000 seed balls production and spread across Pakistan in the coming monsoon.”

The residents of MHNP will produce these seed balls under the supervision of SMEC and IWMB. The sale proceeds of seed balls shall go to the poor local inhabitants of MHNP ultimately bring an economic change. The secretary Hassan Nasir Jamy while speaking said the countrywide five-year campaign includes "changing mind-sets" towards cleanliness, creating dumping sites for waste, provision of public toilets, and starting volunteer scouts programme to help support the campaign. He said, “For a new Pakistan, a new mindset is required.

In the light of Clean Green Pakistan campaign, the government is organising various awareness seminars, walks and activities to engage youth especially children to create awareness among them about the importance of cleanliness and plantation and how it helps to resolve most of the climate issues including air, water, and plastic pollution.”

He pointed out that the billion tree tsunami is one such example under which 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land was restored in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Earlier, all the participants assembled at Islamabad Zoo’s parking lot. From there they were driven by IWMB vehicles to the viewpoints starting from the top. The volunteers were able to clean the viewpoints partially as they were full of garbage and it was difficult to cover the steep and dangerous slopes. The waste collected was disposed of properly. The participants were later taken to Dino Park (IWMB office)/Islamabad Zoo for light refreshments and closing ceremony.

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