Enough of talking. We need to DO something about this


Photo by Altaf Shaheen on Twitter

In mid-June, my friend came back from his northern areas trip he had so eagerly anticipated for months, his facial expressions, however, resembled nothing of a person who just had had an amazing tourism adventure, I presumed it’s just travel exhaustion and didn’t think that seriously about it nor did I bother asking. In the evening when we finally sat together and he began narrating his experience details, I came to know what pestered him. He told, “We are our own biggest enemies, world says your north is prettier than Switzerland. Swiss treasure their heaven but look at us, what are we doing to ours? Ruining it with trash thrown everywhere, you go to the highest place of the country, even there you would find garbage. It is almost like we deliberately want to destroy the gift we’ve been given by God. Despite the fact cleanliness is half of our faith, there is none of it anywhere. From Karachi to Gilgit, pollution follows you like your shadow. It’s heartbreaking”.

When his rant was over, I quietly stood up and came back to my room. I knew it was futile to fume over the sanitary plight of our country, it changed nothing before and it was going to change nothing in the future. The reason for my pessimism? I have tried and saw countless others try to bring the attention of powers that be to this starkly important issue, all ended up facing failure. And then, I completely forgot it… until yesterday. When I came across a video of another countryman of mine showing the pile of trash on Babusar Top, a tourist destination in the north, at the towering altitude of 4,173 meters. He was making a plea to stop littering, stop turning our country from the land of pure into the land of filth.

Images from Mr. Shahid’s video depicting the harrowing sanitary condition at Babusar Top


Photo by Shahid Raza on Twitter


Photo by Shahid Raza on Twitter


Photo by Shahid Raza on Twitter


Photo by Shahid Raza on Twitter

That depressing video made my mind jog back some months prior when New Zealand’s famous video blogger Karl Rock, who amasses a following of 1.8 million subscribers on YouTube, on his Pakistan tour was left dumbfounded by the amount of rubbish laying around on popular tourist spot, Shimla Top in Abbottabad. That memory combined with the plea of video maker, Mr. Shahid Raza, once again brought back the hopeful fool in me who thinks writing or appealing can make a difference in this regard. But this once, I won’t appeal, I will beg, beg to government, beg to the opposition, beg to lawmakers, beg to anyone reading this, for God’s sake, save Pakistan from becoming a giant garbage bin!

Mr. Rock expressing his disappointment with rubbish everywhere on Shimla Top, Abbottabad

The emphasis put on cleanliness by our religion isn’t hidden from anyone. Then why is it we lag way, way behind the western nations when it comes to this matter? Our faith is incomplete without it but we litter like there’s no tomorrow. If you ask me, disregarding half of your religion, that is true blasphemy. The root cause of this plague sickening our motherland is us, we ourselves. It isn’t hard to put our trash in a bin for proper disposal but we make it harder than scaling Mount Everest for us. In public places, trash bins are empty but litter is present abundantly in the surroundings.

This would fall on deaf ears, I am well-aware. We have wired ourselves to not listen unless the element of strictness is involved. That’s why I would plead with the government instead, I would request that while your resolve of clean and green Pakistan is appreciable, the clean part of it won’t come to fruition until the population is stopped from polluting. What’s the use of waste management companies when hours after their cleaning people litter and undo all the effort? Instead, we need:

  1. Hefty fines nationwide on polluters without discrimination or concession. Imprisonment for non-fine payers and repeated offenders.

  2. Given how people here argue for hours with traffic police wardens whenever they are fined, even if it is as measly as Rs.100, the job to regulate this law should be given to police, who have more authority and people actually fear them. Additional enrollments in force can be done for that since there would be an argument that law-enforcement is for protecting lives not keeping streets clean.

  3. Trash containers and bins would be placed in all areas of the city, and waste management companies will regularly and punctually empty them for disposal/recycling.

If just these three recommendations are put into effect, the transformation of Pakistan would be unprecedented, while we may not really become a first-world country from a third-world nation in a snap, but we sure as hell would look like one. Bringing back the golden times of Islamic history, when from Damascus to Baghdad, the Muslim empire used to shine like a diamond in dark. In 2013 when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf first formed government in KPK, I wrote numerous letters to CM Pervaiz Khatak sb, conveying the very same suggestions, on one fateful day, I even spotted him at PTI’s G-6/4 office, which I frequented. I personally handed him the photocopy of the original letter. Maybe it was thought upon, maybe it was not, maybe it wasn’t unsealed at all, I have no way of knowing, but I continued with letters, emails, tweets, and social media messages.

It was around the winter of 2018 I got dejected of never hearing anything back and dumped the idea altogether. But, like it’s said, “No hero stays retired forever, sooner or later, the duty calls”, whilst I’m no hero, just a deluded optimist. I too am back from retirement to strive for an unpolluted Pakistan. This time I have created a petition for the implementation of aforesaid laws, you can sign and share it if you consider this cause worth your time or if you simply just want to waste it by partaking in this grand delusion.

My petition to the Prime Minister of Pakistan:

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Something should be done to get rid of this trash.

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