With cloth bags in their hands, high school students went from shop to shop in Gilgit, asking vendors to help conserve the natural environment of the scenic valley by discarding plastic bags. They also participated in a walk that started from Hussainabad Colony, Jutial and culminated at the Serena Hotel, which was one of the hosts of the event.
Besides students and teachers of New Era Public school, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Gilgit Arkam Tariq, management of Serena Hotel, government officials and tour operators also participated in the walk. Along the way, students collected garbage and disposed it at a garbage site. They held paintings and placards inscribed with slogans such as “Say No to Plastic Bags”.
According to an estimate, around 500 billion plastic bags are used annually, or almost one million are used per minute, across the globe. To make matters worse, approximately 60 to 100 million barrels of oil are required to make these plastic bags each year.
As plastic bags are non-biodegradable and take over 10,000 years to decompose, they are a cause of major environmental concern.
At a ceremony held after the walk, the students presented skits wearing cloths bags and plastic bags.
DC Tariq said the administration will ensure implementation of laws concerning the environment as part of its contribution to the cause.
Individuals, companies and organisations around the world have been celebrating “Responsible Tourism Day” since 2005 to assist and build a sustainable future for the travel and tourism industry. Often confused with other types of tourism, responsible tourism is defined by the 2002 Cape Town Declaration as tourism that creates better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2012.