Hunza valley is amongst the top tourist destinations not only in Pakistan but in the world. Surrounded by snow clad mountains and home to sprawling lush green meadows, the scenic Hunza valley has captured attention of local and international tourist alike for having scenic views, hospitable people and clean environment.
Of late, Hunza has yet again grabbed headlines for becoming the first plastic free district of Pakistan. Given the rise in awareness with regards to plastic pollution, which is attributed to be leading cause of environmental pollution, the local government joined hands with Gilgit Baltistan environment protection agency to roll out pilot ban. Moreover, in a bid to make the pilot a success, more than 10,000 biodegradable bags bearing anti plastic slogans were distributed amongst the local.
The pilot was run in the light of threat posed by plastic to the environment and the fact that Indus that runs through Pakistan happens to be amongst the second most polluted river in the world, with over 164,332 tons of plastic dumped in it annually.
It is well known that plastic can take centuries to decompose yet the demand for single use plastic continues to surge in Pakistan and across the world. It interesting that Hunza achieved what most metropolis from developed countries continue to struggle with.
With the introduction of ban on single use plastic in April 2019, the use of plastic, its export/ import and sale became a punishable offense. Although the ban was criticised by few factions of the society, the ban was eventually accepted by people, for it prevented landfill from appearing in GB.
What initially was a pilot run program, turned into a comprehensive program against plastic also inspired other cities including Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Quetta to impose a ban on single use plastic; however, the level of success attained by Hunza is unmatched thus far.
Recognising the dividends of efforts by local council, the government of Pakistan’s adviser to PM on Climate change Malik Amin Aslam commended the personnels involved in the comprehensive program and declared “Hunza the first plastic free district in Asia’- which is part of the district that had seen influx of over 1.72 million tourist.
The adviser congratulated the officials involved for the valuable contributions and hoped to replicate the model in other areas in Pakistan