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Join hands for a noble cause -Article

The planet earth is like our mother. It gives birth to all of us. From unicellular simple organism such as Chlamydomonas and Amoeba to highest well developed organism such as human being and whale and all other organisms from the vast dry deserts of Africa to the depth of pacific oceans all are a brought up on the face of green planet. It provides us shelter to live and also supply the living being with all the bread and butter to live on. No other planet or in the known universe is so life friendly as ours. God has created this planet for the human being to live and it serves as a base to explore the other part of the unknown and mysterious universe. Human being, by using its intellect has explored about every nook and corner. Men have designed missiles to hit others. They have sent satellites to the space. We placed our steps on moon and mars. In turn of all these benefit the human being is doing nothing except destroying the whole eco system. It is being done in every part of the land whether we claim to be developed or under developed. Some where we violate the Kyoto agreement. Somewhere the environment is being destroyed by the contamination of water sources. Somewhere highly poisonous gases are sent to the upper atmosphere resulting in the depletion of ozone layer. Change in the weather pattern is a counter effect of the global warming. Still in many places the very heart of the earth are being shaken by the huge explosion of very powerful nuclear detonator that have shocked and traumatized the very heart of the earth.

 

   


Like previous years this year on June 5 environmental day was observed throughout the globe with pump and show. Seminars and conferences were arranged followed by promises and assurances to protect our mother earth at any cost. Unfortunately, all promises to protect the environment are boiled away as same as the bubbles in the air. Like other part of the world, in Chitral also some of the non governmental organization arranged seminars and promised to save the environment.


The green valley of Chitral which was once said to be as the land of crystal clear steams and spring water is turning into a land of garbage. If well-timed action steps are not taken this beautiful piece of land is developing mountain size garbage and if the natural resources are not properly utilized then the whole mountains and shining ice caps will be covered only with black color soot and dust emitted from the internal combustion engines of automobiles. Chitral region has been blessed with the clean environment. There are no industries in the area so the major pollution sources such as industrial wastes are not faced by this region. Nor it has the problem of harmful radioactive waste as other part of the world. However, here the main sources of environmental degradation could be categorized into the following main types.

Household waste after the uses of different man made industrial materials such as poly ethane shopping bag and other packing materials and water filled with detergents.
Agricultural wastes such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
Wastes from Hospitals in District Headquarter Hospital Chitral and other Rural Health Units and Basic Health Units in different areas of Chitral.
Market wastes including contaminated water from the hotels and restaurants.
Excessive and unnecessary use of shopping bag as a wrapper and covering of many purchased material is one big source of pollution. When a small business owner was asked about the daily consumption of plastic shopping bag in his own shop he told that about two kilogram pack (containing 200 to 250 shopping bags) was consumed for a single day. This shows the alarming number. Every one knows that a single poly ethane bag takes about 200 years to decompose. It is a common misperception that the these bags are destroyed on burning but few number of the population know that after burning it is converted into more poisonous substances as carbon mono oxide, carbon dioxide and many other harmful gases thus polluting the air.
In the same way, some of the town areas of Booni, Mastuj, Chitral and Drosh have business activities. Hotels and restaurants are being run in these areas. Barber shops are also situated in the main bazaars areas which release huge amount of water contaminated with shampoos and bath soaps. Moreover, unlike big cities, the whole region is not suitable for multistory building constructions. But on the other hand, lack of building codes in the district multistory construction is being seen just mimicking the metropolitan cities. Also no proper urban planning could be seen in Chitral. As a result huge amount of sewage lines from toilets and bathrooms automatically get mixed with the river water and thus endangering the marine species along with the plants and crops.
The use of pesticides and herbicides make the situation graver. In the name of so called protection of plants from diseases toxic and environmentally hazardous chemicals are sprayed over the crops and plants. Although, such chemical substances kill the harmful pest but their ultimate effect is that they contaminate the flowing water in the villages which is no more usable for drinking or cleaning purposes.
Hospitals wastes such as used syringes, plastic bags and other packing materials have no proper places to dump. Hospitals in Chitral, except few, are filled with this garbage around the buildings. Such garbage provides a very good and favorable environment for bacteria and viruses to grow. Rapid growth of bacteria and virus finally results in the spreading of diseases. People who come to hospital for the sake of curing diseases take many other diseases to their homes. Thus hospitals are serving not a place of treatment but a place to spread disease.


It is a fact that one cannot stop the fast growing business in the region. We cannot close down the door of hospital just blaming them as sources of pollutions. Neither hotels nor market could be shut down. However, some practical actions could be taken to minimize the degradation of environment in our own hand. The issues of pollution must be sensitized before it gets the alarming condition.
Environmental awareness among the common masses is the need of the hour. For this purpose the people of all ages must be educated. In order to get the positive results teachers could be trained to produce environment friendly and sensitive students. Environmental clubs in schools and other institutions could be formed to create awareness among the public. In addition, to encourage the plantation another step could also be taken. It is by conditioning the certification of students at the end of academic year in school or college year with at least planting a single tree by the students.


The unnecessary and excessive use of the poly ethane shopping bag must be discouraged. Instead of using shopping bag for every piece of a substance we could have other bags of cotton with us to keep our luggage after shopping. This simple act will highly be helpful to minimize the environmental pollution. Similarly, children must be educated to use recycle bin instead of dustbin in their home and schools. If children take a chewing gum ask him/her to put the plastic cover of confectioneries into the recycle bin. Use recycle bin as more as possible. Instead of putting household or any other wastes in flowing water one can dump the garbage thus by protecting water from being polluted. Similarly, recycling techniques could also be useful. We can design decoration pieces from the garbage thus by getting wealth from wastes.
A large amount of paper is consumed daily within the district especially in the government and private offices. One must remember that with every page of paper a tree is cut down. It results in the deforestation which ultimately leads to thinning of forest in a country which is already deprived from this wealth. Instead of using papers we can search for alternatives. It could be using soft copies and reading them from the computer screen.


Mammoth gathering of people are seen in the three mega events of Shandur, Broghol festivals and Jashn e Qaqlasht where people use fast foods and other edibles. Soft drinks are taken in abundance. After every big event these places are filled with wastes. Through mass media the people could also be educated. Such occasions provide a best platform for a number of people to educate. Implicit message of importance of clean and neat environment could be given to the people through banners and announcements. Showing documentaries on the hazards of environmental pollution will be another step towards this noble cause.
Environmental degradation is not only the concern of Chitral nor is it the issue of today rather it has been felt in all parts of the planet earth. No other weapon of mass destruction poses a threat as severe as the environmental pollution. Human being is much concerned about the fast changing weather pattern, melting of ice caps and elevation of ocean water. No country or government has the magic wand to clean the environment in a while. Every individual has an important role. Let us again remember the famous dictum of great German Philosopher, Nietzsche, and "Let everyone sweep in front of his door and all the world is clean". Let every citizen of the world take a pause and thing about our planet in general and our region in particular and play his/her role.

 

Z.A.Zulfi,
Dokandeh, Booni, Chitral

09 June 10.

 

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