IWMB, volunteers take Parliamentarians to Shahdara Picnic Point for plastic waste clean up

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and it’s dedicated volunteers on Sunday took members of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change to clean up plastic waste at a picnic spot in Shahdara Valley of the Margalla Hills National Park to highlight hazards of plastic waste in connection with World Environment Day.

The IWMB along with it’s volunteers organised an awareness and clean up activity to kick start World Environment Day 2023 celebrations in the federal capital under this year’s theme “Solutions to Plastic Pollution” at one of the neglected spots of the Margalla Hills National Park and especially invited the Senate Committee members.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairperson IWMB, Rina Saeed Khan said the activity was supported by the Board and it’s volunteers who were passionate about environmental conservation and protection.

She said an overwhelming response has been received from the civil society to the Board’s awareness campaigns as number of youth and elderly have joined the awareness initiatives of the Board to protect nature and biodiversity.

“Shahdara Valley is part of Margalla Hills National Park but due to its remote location it was somehow neglected and the volunteers decided to initiate awareness activities from this picnic spot which has been littered by the tourists,” she added.

She highlighted that the volunteers were trained by Senior IWMB Member Dr. Z.B. Mirza on nature and biodiversity of the national park and it’s management and protection under the Eco-Guards initiative.

There were over a hundred volunteers who used to communicate through WhatsApp group, she added.

Khan informed that the Board members were working without any perks and salaries just to serve the nation and give the country back better.

The government, she said had limitations and so the Board that it had only 40 staffers who could not alone manage the patrolling, protection and public awareness of over 17,000 hectares area.

“This Board is a civil society-led organisation and had developed a civil society coalition for nature protection and preservation which has been very successful. Over 5,000 visitors come to the trials for hiking and trekking of the National Park,” she added.

Chairperson of Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change Senator Seemee Ezdi said the activity was the right step to celebrate this year’s World Environment Day under the theme of Solutions to Plastic Pollution.

She added that the activity was in line with Clean Green Pakistan vision that ensures a pollution-free country.
Senator Ezdi said school children had also joined the clean-up drive which was propitious as youth awareness was very critical for nature conservation.

Mansoor Sherwani, the senior volunteer leading the group said he was passionate about hiking, nature protection awareness and cleanliness of the natural environment.

He added that the Shahdara Picnic Point was a neglected site and this activity had helped in sensitising the local masses and shopkeepers to contro littering and plastic pollution in the national park.

He said his mission was to create a circle of people to collectively work for the improvement and protection of nature in the national park.

“I stated this journey from Trail-5 and today people recognise me as a volunteer. I educate the visitors to sensitise their family members to behave like a responsible citizen and act sensibly towards nature. We manage the clean up activity from our own resources. We want to give back a better and eco-friendly country to the coming generations,” Sherwani said.

Mansoor Sherwani was also awarded the certificate of Ambassador for Awareness Creation regarding Conservation, Protection and Preservation of biodiversity of Margalla Hills National Park.

Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence and member of its Climate Change Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said Pakistan was the seventh most impacted country due to climate change. “We have given the slogan of a clean green Pakistan back in 2018 when people didn’t even know about climate change.

But today the situation had changed completely as people have more awareness due to recurring natural calamities like heatwaves and 2022 floods.”

He emphasised that people must play a responsible role in curbing littering and pollution. “We must learn from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who gave an hour-long speech on how to clean lavatories and avoid littering,” he said.

Senator Mushahid mentioned that 10 years back he held the first public hearing of the Parliament and developed the first-ever climate manual on the environment.
He added that our religion of Islam and the founding fathers of the nation notably Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah were the role model for the nation to follow cleanliness.

Senators Taj Haider and Keshoo Bai also joined the clean-up activity whereas over a dozen trash bags of 50 kg each were collected by the IWMB team, volunteers, school children, media and members of the civil society.


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