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Clean-up Movement, Ecologist Participated in Hiking

This weekend, the Margalla Hills Trail-5 cleanup initiative began in Islamabad. Over one hundred university students and nature enthusiasts took part in a hiking and cleanup operation.

This movement was organized jointly by Devcom-Pakistan, the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Climate Change, the Gym Club of Quaid-i-Azam University, the CS Adventure Club of Comsats University, Westminster Academy, and Rawalpindi Women University.

Assistant Director of the IWMB, Sakhawat Ali, instructed the group about the ecological significance and natural heritage of Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP). MHNP was founded in 1980. According to him, it has an area of 17,386 hectares (42,960 acres) and is located near the Himalayas’ foothills. Tilla Charouni, at 1,604 meters, is the highest point in the park. The park is rich in biodiversity, especially Sino-Himalayan species, such as the gray goral, barking deer, and leopard. The MHNP is home to over 600 plant species, 402 bird species, 38 animal species, and 27 reptile species.

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He noted that under the new management, the IWMB has lately taken efforts to protect the park and its tourists. The IWMB renovated the Nature Education Centre, which serves as the hub for activities and awareness-raising workshops. Sirbaz Khan, a rising star of extreme climbing in Pakistan, and Zeshan Naqvi, a former deputy mayor of Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), were also there. Mr. Nazir Sabir was the principal guest at the ceremony for awarding certificates.

Mr. Sabir discussed how, due to climate change, mountaineering has become highly technical and difficult. He also urged Mr. Prime Minister Imran Khan to assemble a task team of eight to ten eminent mountaineers. Mr. Khan disclosed that sadly mountaineering was not a government priority while the mountains were threatened by the housing and forestry mafias. Authorities should develop a plan of action regarding this mess.

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