July 7, 2022

Panel Discussion on environmental issues in Rawalakot

Rawalakot/London: (Press for Peace Foundation)

The participants of a virtual panel discussion warned here on Sunday, 12 June 2021, that local communities could face dangerous situations and environmental danger if coordinated public partnership efforts were not made to protect local natural resources in Rawalakot, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. 

Addressing the panel discussion, social activists, intellectuals and other participants said that ignoring emerging environmental issues in Azad Kashmir could create severe economic, social, and environmental challenges for local communities.

Press for Peace Foundation- a UK-based organization had arranged the Twitter Space discussion on ‘Environmental Issues in Rawalakot’ to create awareness about environmental problems, sustainable development, and the green economy. 

Mazhar Iqbal Mazhar (London) hosted the event and prominent among the speakers were Educational Consultant Jamil Ahmed, Author Javaid Khan, President   Rawalakot Press Club Sardar Rashid Nazir, Analyst Kashif Mir, Prof. Zafar Iqbal (Director Press for Peace Foundation), Abdul Wajid Khan, senior journalist, Shahid Awan Social Activist, Khurshid Abbasi, and others. 

The speakers urged the government to launch modern and eco-friendly sewerage systems in Rawalakot, Muzaffarabad, and other main cities of the region. 

Governments and civil society should work jointly to tackle growing environmental challenges of deforestation, pollution, soil erosion, greenhouse emissions, flooding, fewer crops, etc. 

The civil society and local communities need to take ownership of the efforts to protect natural resources and wildlife. 

The speakers also urged the government to impose a ban on the use of plastic bags adding that recyclable and biodegradable bags should be promoted and encouraged. 

The rising usage of baby diapers is a threat to the health of citizens and the beauty of the local areas because disposable diapers never go away. Diapers contribute to health issues and environmental problems. 

Analyst Kashif Mir disclosed that over 25 Billion Rupees were spent under the ‘Billion Tsunami tree program’ and ‘Green Pakistan’ program on forest conservation and wildlife protection in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. However, ground realities about forestation protection and conservation are mismatched with the government claims on environmental investments. 

He lamented over the incidents of unprecedented wildfires in forests and questioned the government’s measures to protect valuable natural resources including farmlands and forests.

Prof. Zafar Iqbal informed the participants that Press for Peace Foundation would arrange similar events, workshops, seminars, and other activities in Muzaffarabad, Bagh, and other cities. 

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