Cleaning The Margalla Hills

International Mountain Day was observed on 11th December, 2013. Mountains are a source of freshwater, energy and food – resources that will be increasingly scarce in coming de-cades. However, mountains are also extremely vulnerable to climate change, deforestation, land deg-radation and natural disasters.

NUST Environment Club (NEC), one of the central societies of National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), organized a 'Hiking Trip & Walk' at Trail-3 of Margalla Hills, Islamabad. The sole purpose of this hiking trip was to spread awareness about the importance of mountains, their preservation and conservation. This event took place on 8th December, 2013 with approximately 100 people in attendance which included students and faculty members from NUST.

Upon arriving at the venue, a briefing about the International Mountain Day and it's importance was given by Mr. Munir Ahmed, Director DEVCOM. Later all participants were divided into five groups and a group leader was appointed for each.

Trail-3 is a famous and old hiking track of Margalla Hills. The initial phase of the climb was a little tough and strenuous but after a while, the difficulty of the track was soon forgotten. As we moved further up, we were struck by the grandeur and loveliness of the mountains. The higher we went, the more beautiful our surroundings became. The view of Islamabad from the mountain track was simply breathtaking. The three-hour tiring hike was worth every drop of sweat and every bit of trouble that we had on our way.

It was not only hiking but a cleanup drive as well. Each individual was handed over a garbage bag to collect the trash on the track. The groups reached the top point of the track, Monal, in different time brackets. But all of us had one observation is common; the hills were littered with different type of waste papers, cigarette butts, wrappers and what all and what not. We all need to understand the importance of keeping our surroundings clean, especially these mountains. It was painful to note that people had thrown waste in the open despite availability of waste bins. We need to improve our civic sense.

The lunch arrangements for the hikers were made by the management. Nothing beats pizza after a tiring calorie burning hike that was served to us for lunch.

After lunch we descended to the starting point by using similar track. This trip was both enlightening and exciting. It gave everyone a chance to seriously consider the importance of preserving mountains in their original shape.

The writer is a student at NUST and pursuing degree in Environmental Engineering. [email protected]

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