Children will raise awareness during the first ever cleanliness drive in Murree. Students from six schools will participate in the five-day drive that kicks off on May 30.
Earlier in a meeting on May 14, it was decided that the hill station will be divided into 22 sections. But the number was later narrowed to 15 to make the drive more effective.
Murree’s Assistant Commigarbassioner Omar Jehangir told The Express Tribune that engaging children will be helpful as they are keen to be actively involved in environment-related activities. Besides disseminating knowledge, shops owners, hospitals’ management and residents will be encouraged to be more cautious when discarding garbage.
A team of children will visit assigned areas during the campaign and ask people how they discard garbage. The students have been advised to make people take an oath to dispose garbage in recyclable bags everyday, which will be collected by Murree’s solid waste management authority the following day.
“This, in a way, will also test students’ efficiency. A house, hotel or shop spotted missing a bag will show that they have not been visited,” said Omar, while noting that the children’s queries on waste disposal methods will show the performance of TMA officials in the past.
Omar was made in charge of Murree’s first cleanliness week following a May 14 meeting called by the Sajjad Saleem Hotiana, environment protection secretary, in Lahore.
The DO transport was also advised to clean bus stands during the campaign, which runs from May 30 to June 4.
Officials of Rawalpindi TMA were requested to send additional solid waste and management staff to assist with the cleaning process.
The department will also send a truck to THQ Hospital every week to collect hazardous and infectious waste which will be properly disposed off in Rawalpindi. In addition, 20 red and yellow dustbins will also be installed. Hazardous medical waste will go in red bins, while other garbage from the hospital will be discarded in yellow bins.
The agriculture EDO, according to an EPD official, was asked to plant trees along the Murree expressway to Jhinga Gali to counter the deforestation Murree has come under in the past decades.
The Cantt Board of Murree, whose representative was not at the May 14 meeting, has been issued a notice to push its residents and board workers to clean up its region during the cleanliness week.
Omer said hotels accused of disposing waste in open streams across Murree will be fined Rs1 million. The Environment Protection Orders from the EPD office in Lahore will also be issued to hotel management with directions to adopt alternative waste disposal methods.
The EPD Lahore has contributed 100 bins which will be installed along the Mall Road.
“Kids are the future,” said Shagufta Shahjehan, director general of EPD.
Having suggested the campaign before the beginning of summer holidays in schools, she said, “It is impossible to make kids sweep and mop the streets but encouraging them to speak to residents will bring about a positive change in their perception and level of concern about the environment.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2011.
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