SWAT: Civil society in Swat has played its active role to transform a dirty and environmentally-degraded stream in Mingora into a green scenic point by its sustained struggle.
There are two streams running through Mingora town; one from Marghuzar valley and the other from Jambil valley. The streams were once picnic spots for local people wherein they took bath and washed clothes.
“Once there were trees along both sides of the streams where elders used to sit and chat while youth and children enjoyed swimming in the crystal clear waters.
Struggle of local youth bears fruit after five years
However, the local residents and shopkeepers started throwing their garbage and waste in both the Jabmil and Marghuzar streams, turning them into gutters, posing a serious threat to the health of people living in the city,” said Zafar Ali Kaka, a civil society member in Mingora.
The residents said dumping garbage and releasing residential waste into the streams reflected the inefficiency of the tehsil municipal administration and other relevant organisations.
“When we observed that neither the district administration nor the relevant departments are taking action against the violators, some of the youth and social activist started campaign against it and launched a movement to save the streams,” said Amjad Ali, a civil society member, adding that they started the campaign in 2015 asking the government and the line departments, including forest, irrigation, tehsil municipal administration and WSSC, to clean the stream and plant trees along both sides of them.
They said that the civil society members build pressure and it took five years to move the government.
“After five years of campaign the KP government approved a project of planting trees along both sides of the streams which was implemented by WSSC. It not only planted trees, but also removed garbage from the stream cleaning them from time to time,” said another member of the campaign.
However, he said the WSSC project team focused only on Jambil stream and ignored the Marghuzar stream due to which only one stream turned green and clean and the other was still without trees.
WSSC manager operation Mian Shahid Khan said the project titled “Clean the Stream” was launched by WSSC on December 16, 2019, for making Mingora beautiful and safer for its residents.
The residents thanked the KP government and WSSC for carrying out the project, but demanded another scheme to make the remaining portion of streams clean and green.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2021