By: Shakil Ahmad .
Gilgit Baltistan is a region that is widely famous for its immaculate beauty, enchanted landscape, mighty snow-capped mountains, and unsullied crystal-clear glacial water. This is the reason, it attracts hundreds and thousands of tourists each year, and the number increases exponentially on yearly basis, which is a good sign for the local businessmen and women of the indigenous mountainous community.
To maintain this soaring turnout of tourists, we must work on some of the important areas like preservation of local heritage, affordable travelers’ accommodation, Safe and secured transport facilities, the safety of the tourists, chivalrous tourist guides and translators, and above all the cleanliness of the areas where they visit and stay.
When it comes to the neatness of the area, the role of solid waste management (SWM) is second to none. It plays a vital role in maintaining the environment safe and tidy for the people. But I am at a loss for words to describe one of the garbage dumping sites, near Chilmishdass (a 5 km driving distance from Gilgit city). Where all the wastes (domestic, commercial, and Medical) generated by Gilgit city are being dumped gives a really bad impression of the area because it serves as the opening gateway to the beautiful Naltar valley.
Consequently, It has caused certain implications for the people traveling through this route as, after the construction of the Naltar expressway, tourists use this route to travel back and forth to the aforementioned tourist destination.
First, it is nearby Aga Khan Gilgit Medical Centre (a well-known healthcare system in GB) new campus of KIU and the newly built polytechnic college. Population living and residing in the vicinity of the landfill areas are exposed to innumerable environmental health risks. The malpractice of open burning results in much harmful public health and environmental effects and the frequent smoke breakout at the dumping site may generate various health problems for the population living nearby the landfill area. This is due to the emission of numerous toxic gases and air pollutants mostly methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide.
In addition, solid waste dumping areas provide safe havens for the incubation and proliferation of flies, mosquitoes, and rodents. They also attract an innumerable number of stray dogs, which are the main causes of fatal road accidents and contagious diseases to the population coming into the proximity of the dumping site.
Apart from that, due to the windy weather, all the wrappers and plastics are taken away to nearby places and the whole area seems a mess. You can see shoppers, wrappers, solid waste and other materials spread everywhere.
All things considered, Improper and inefficient handling of waste disposal not only hurts the environment and human health rather it spoils the exquisiteness of the area as well. Therefore, the city administration should look into the matter in the larger interest of protecting public health and the environment and select a place that is far away from the population.