BOONI, May 3: The annual Qaqlasht Festival 2012 is over and thousands of people who had come to the venue to enjoy the three-day events have returned to their homes with pleasant memories. But pause for a moment. Now your leftovers and all the rubbish you carelessly threw there is spoiling the beautiful environment and emitting a stinking smell; who will clean the field and dispose of the dirt?
Is there anyone who cares for the environment – civic agencies, nongovernmental organizations and environment activists who never tire of claiming to work for the betterment of the environment?
An environmental activist who visited the area a few days after the conclusion of the festival while talking to chitraltoday.net expressed anguish and disappointment over the pathetic situation there. He said after seeing the beautiful lush green field in total disarray and littered with all types of junk and filth, he was of the view that we are heading towards a disaster of our own making. He quoted one of the participants of the festival as saying that with the spur of a moment over 10 maunds of rice was dumped in the open near the play field by the visitors before they prepared for leaving the area at the end of the festival. Now all types of vultures and insects are feeding on them, creating a total mess in the area. “It looked as if creatures from some other planets – not human beings let alone the self-boasting Chitralis – had descended on the Qaqlast plain for a few days and left putting all the God-gifted things topsy turvy,” he moaned.
He said the Jashne Qaqlasht Committee, headed by Shahzada Sikendarul Mulk and Mr Mustansir, organized the festival every year and the Sarhad Tourism Corporation provided funds for it. But none of the organizers or the civic agencies of Chitral like the district and tehsil municipal corporations have bothered to make arrangements for the disposal of the leftovers and the cleaning of the plain after the festival.
He said people of Chitral were demanding that the government should formulate some rules and regulations for the organizers of such mega events to make them bound to follow environmental guidelines. “If organizing events in such a way is allowed, I am 100 per cent sure that we will be inflicting irreparable loss on the environment and there will be no one to prepare the damage,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rehmant Ali Jaffar Dost, the chairman of Chitral Heritage and Environment Protection Society (CHEPS), while talking to chitraltoday.net appealed to people from all walks of life to consider protection of environment their first priority. He also called upon the authorities concerned not to allow holding of any festival unless there were arrangements put in place to properly dispose of waste and leftovers at the end of the events. He said the behaviour of the participants and the scenes they leave behind at the end of such festivals do not suit the civilized people of Chitral.