Islamabad: A group of university students, members of civil society and nature-loving citizens picked litter from the frequently visited hill track of the federal capital, Margalla Hills Trail-3, this week.

Deputy mayor of Islamabad, Zeeshan Ali Shah Naqvi, led the participants along the 4.5-kilometre hilly track.

Volunteers collected large amounts of waste — including plastic bottles, wrappers, tins, plastics, and shopping bags thrown away by visitors to the trail 3.

The scourge of littering by visitors on the hiking trails of the Margalla Hills continues, despite the Islamabad Wildlife Board’s checking points.

One of the participants of the mountain cleaning team, Munir Ahmad said, the natural ecology and habitats of mountains need to be protected for the sake of biological diversity, water and food security for human beings and other living species on the planet.

We all depend extremely on water that flows down from the mountains.

Therefore we need to protect everything that ensures availability of water every single day of the year, he said.

He said the overwhelming participation of young people in the Margalla Hills clean-up was a good sign of their maturity towards nature and conservation.

The environmentally-engaged youth would become a real source of inspiration for others to adopt green and clean practices in the society, he added.

The fragile mountain ecosystems are a lifeline various species of for flora and fauna, as well as human beings, and they cannot be restored if overexploited, said one of the participants, adding there was need to be more conscious to conserve them.

Participants urged the Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) to take more vigorous action against the degrading Magalla Hills National Park.

Deputy Mayor Naqvi said it was everyone’s duty to protect the green character of the federal capital despite limited funds being available.

He said the MCI would be implementing wholeheartedly the Clean and Green Pakistan initiative the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) without any discrimination of rural and urban areas.

He said the MCI would encourage citizens’ engagement in the management and improvement of civic facilities.

Engaging the youth in healthy and environment friendly practices would be one of the priorities for the MCI.

A cultural trail would be established from Shah Allah Ditta village to across the hills to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the regional have significant Buddhist remains, he further said.