Shandur Festival and our environmental negligence

Shandur Festival and our environmental negligence

Every year Shandur Festival is celebrated in Chitral and a large number of tourists arrive in the district to attend this interesting event both from inside the country and from abroad.

The influx of tourists in Chitral result in improvement in socio-economic life of people and enhance business and employment opportunities in the district, which has no industrial or agriculture base to sustain its economy. From economic point of view as well as building image of the country in the comity of nation in the context of peace is concern this event play very positive role. Especially in Chitral, tourism industry suffered tremendously after Talibanization and extremism in Malakand Region.

To compensate that loss people of Chitral have only Shandur Festival to alive its ailing tourism industry. Shandur Festival start on July 7 of each year and final match of the event is played on July 9, then whole spectators and tourists leave the area after converting beautiful Shandur into pile of garbage and wastes.

It is a matter of very serious concerns for all people who are sensitive about environment that Shandur Festival creating dangerous environmental pollution and local community who are living near Shandur feeling the problem in intense manner. Besides being highest polo ground, Shandur is also used as a pasture by the local community living in Laspur valley and use this pasture for rearing their cattle and livestock.

Due to this environmental pollution, livestock of the local community in the area suffer enormously and large numbers of their cattle especially yolk dies by eating the wastes left in Shandur by large number of spectators and tourists visit to enjoy the festival. The irony of fate is that the district government every year spend millions of rupees on this event but it has no provision to spend any penny on the collection and proper disposal of the garbage in the beautiful Shandur.

As a result, piling up of waste in the Shandur Valley gradually disfiguring natural beauty of the area and concern government officials, tourism department, district government and other organization are totally oblivious to the situation. Garbage and waste left in Shandur are eaten by wild animals as well as cattle of neighbouring communities and both natural environment and wild life of the area are hardly hit by the garbage left in the open after close of the festival and no organization as well as government functionaries are thinking about the negative consequences of this serious environmental degradation.

In this grim situation, it is requested that officials concerned should take notice of the situation and direct the district government Chitral to develop some sort of plan for disposing of the garbage left in the area. Otherwise the beautiful Shandur will lose its natural beauty every year, and become pile of garbage and waste.   Rehmat Ali Jaffardost Booni, Chitral.