Shandur festival and pollution
By: REHMAT ALI JAFFARDOST
Chitral: EVERY year Shandur polo festival is celebrated in Chitral and many local and foreign tourists visit the district to attend this event.
This results in improvement in socio-economic life of the people. It enhances business and employment opportunities in Chitral. From economic point of view as well as building image of the country in the comity of nations in the context of peace, this event plays a very positive role.
Especially in Chitral, tourism industry suffered tremendously after Talibanization and extremism in Malakand region. To compensate that loss people of Chitral has only Shandur polo festival to keep alive its ailing tourism industry.
Shandur polo festival starts on July 7 of each year and the final match of the event is played on July 9. The spectators and tourists leave the area after converting beautiful Shandur into a pile of garbage and waste.
It is a matter of very serious concerns for all people who are sensitive about environment that Shandur polo festival is creating environmental pollution and local community is especially concerned about this problem.
Besides being highest polo ground, Shandur is also used as pasture by local community living in Laspure.
The local people use this pasture for grazing their cattle and livestock. Due to this environmental pollution livestock of local community in the area suffer enormously and large numbers of their cattle, especially Yak dies by eating the wastes left by spectators and tourists.
Ironically, the district government spends millions of rupees every year on this event but they have no provision to spend for collection and disposing of the garbage in the beautiful Shandur.
As a result, piling up of waste in the Shandur valley is gradually disfiguring the natural beauty of the area.