Shahdra Valley Cleanup

Many thanks and congratulations to all those who participated in our Shahdra Valley Cleanup on Saturday, 17 Novmeber 2012. We found the picnic point in a rather bad shape but left it looking a little prettier. To our surprise, we didn’t find as many disposable plastic bottles as we had expected after our experience in Kaghan Valley earlier this year. So the recyclables were hardly a few kilos. However, the situation with candy wrappers, bags of chips, and styrofoam tea-cups was far worse. We collected hundreds of them from the bushes, the edges of cliffs, and from the flowing water which would have been crystal-clear but for these pollutants. Our estimate of this combustible waste was about 75 kilograms. We burned it all and buried it in a landfill which we dug ourselves. All the waste was gone from the valley as if it never existed. Magic!

We started at 8:45 AM and finished at 4:00 PM. With a little over an hour for lunch break, that amounted to about 6 hours each committed by 8 people for a total of 48 man-hours. However, to do justice to the beauty of this valley and to restore it to its glory, we probably needed to put in 150 man-hours. We could have achieved that easily with greater participation. Unfortunately, several people withdrew in the 11th hour and two of the volunteers were no-shows after they had signed up.

We need to discuss in forums how to improve participation and especially how to deal with no-shows. Not showing up after signing up is breaking a promise. We had planned for those 2 people and thus ended up wasting seats in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle which means we wasted some fuel in a poor country that imports all its fuel. If only we can all keep our promises, there is hope for this organisation and for this country.