Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Saturday celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Pakistan with the staff of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), rangers, volunteers, school children and citizens in the Margalla Hills National Park Trail 5 participating in a Clean-up Drive.
Sherry and the participants collected litter from the trail and stuffed them into the garbage bags. The trash included empty bottles, shopping bags, plastics of all sorts, used napkins, tissue papers and other stuff.
While speaking briefly on the occasion, she said the Margalla Hills National Park has been home to diverse species of plants, animals, and wildlife. The year 2022 has been especially tough for Pakistan’s protected areas due to the catastrophic impact of climate change, said she.
We lost several thousand trees to unprecedented forest fires this year, Rehman said.
Most of them were due to the heat wave and dry weather, she said, however, as human activities lessened due to the pandemic, the wildlife, the foxes, monkeys, jackals, and so on, reclaimed their spaces at the National Park.
Now, as we attempt to coexist, the first rule of sharing space is to make sure you’re leaving it behind just as you found it. Littering of single-use plastics is becoming an issue at the Margalla Hills National Park; if ingested by any wildlife, it can be toxic and potentially life-threatening for them, said Sherry.
“Pakistan is going through a climate crisis, and we cannot close our eyes and pretend it isn’t, she said and added that Margalla Hills National Park is our national asset. Islamabad is the only capital close to such a large national park in the world and I request hikers, citizens, and tourists to bring reusable bags and bottles while coming for recreational activities. “If we don’t take climate action as citizens, we will be unable to slow down the impacts of climate change on our forests, rivers, nature, and us.
“The Ministry of Climate Change and the CITES Management Authority imposed a ban on importing all exotic mammals in Pakistan, said Sherry. The IWMB is also recovering exotic pets and releasing them into their natural habitats. I would also urge the provinces, within their capacities, to do their bit to build climate resilience and take national goals forward on securing our future as the world heats up.