The fate of the Korang River is similar to that of other rivers in the vicinity of cities in Pakistan, that of a garbage dump. Plastic bags are choking the natural life in the water, and it will not be long before the fish in the river vanish. Flowing down from the Murree Hills to Islamabad, it feeds the Rawal Lake, the source of water for the citizens of Rawalpindi.
The Green Force, led by Cristina Afridi, Bilal Haque and Saima Umar, had put the event together, with the enthusiastic assistance of the Green Volunteers and Waste Busters. It was the first environmental clean-up drive of this scale in the twin cities, made high profile by the presence of Imran Khan and Senator Mushahid Hussain. Both of them stressed the need to save the threatened environment, and brought attention to this neglected issue in Pakistan. Cristina Afridi pointed out in her speech how wildlife had disappeared in just a couple of years, as encroachers were illegally occupying this protected area for wildlife.
The children who had competed with each other in teams of ten children each, were awarded certificates, and the SOS Village School, Rawalpindi walked away with the prize for collecting the most garbage. The irony was that while the banks of the Korang River looked considerably cleaner after the kids had braved the heat cleaning it, the tent under which the ceremony was held and tea served, was littered with garbage at the end of it. The battle for changing the culture of Pakistanis is going to be long, arduous and challenging for all environmentalists.
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