British High Commissioner Dr. Christian Turner with two bags full of trash in Margalla Hills National Park. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) have sprung into action and launched a cleanliness drive to remove trash from the Margalla Hills, walking tracks and hiking trails of the Margalla Hills National Park (MNHP).

This all happened after High Commissioner of the United Kingdom (UK) Dr Christian Turner posted a picture on social media in which he could be seen carrying two bags full of litter, empty canes and waste material, removed from the Margalla Hills National Park.

Cleanliness half of faith

In his tweet, Christian Turner said it was “another Friday morning walk and another two bags of litter.” He had also quoted famous Islamic saying: Cleanliness is half of faith.

After the British envoy’s tweet, not only Islamabad’s civic and administrative organizations and departments started a mega move to remove the litter from various sites, people particularly the well-known celebrities appreciated the UK mission’s head for drawing the public as well as the government’s attention towards this important issue.

Former cricket great and ex-captain of Pakistan squad, Wasim Akram, responded to his tweet saying, “Now this is really embarrassing. Where are we heading? And thanks Mr Turner for doing this almost every week.”

Deputy Commissioner (DC) of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Hamza Shafqaat has also spearheaded a drive to remove trash from the scenic Margalla Hills and in this campaign he is assisted by civil society and different volunteer groups.

“We will utilize this lockdown period in the days of Covid-19 for this purpose and will organize teams to clean up our hills and the countryside,” said he while talking to Gulf News on Sunday.

To a question whether the drive was inspired by the UK high commissioner’s tweet, he said the ICT had planned it before that. “We keep doing this off and on and it is not the first time that we are doing this kind of cleanliness drive,” said Hamza.

He also shared some pictures of the ‘cleaned’ up tracks and trails as a result of the cleanliness drive.

Cleanup campaign

The IWMB has also initiated a cleanup campaign in Margalla Hills National Park to lift waste dumped by visitors and tourists in the natural environment.

The campaign will continue during the lockdown, said Manager Operation of the IWMB, Sakhawat Ali.

We will not only clean all the main trails, six trails, but will also go for the untrodden paths and remove trash from there as well during this nine-day campaign, he said.

The IMWB has started registering volunteers to expedite stakeholder intervention to address the littering issue and 400 volunteers have been registered for the “My waste my responsibility” drive, he further said.