The World Organization has warned that tourism in Pakistan’s northern regions is putting pressure on the environment, leading to population growth, declining natural pastures, and increasing pressure on rare animals.
The World Bank said that Pakistan’s mountainous regions have some of the most beautiful landscapes and climates in the world.
According to the Dawn newspaper, the study, entitled ‘Sustainable Solid Waste Management in Mountain Areas’, warns that ‘these effects will gradually destroy the ecological resources on which tourism itself depends.
According to research, reliable estimates are not available on the amount and characteristics of waste in mountainous areas as it depends on tourist arrivals, regional characteristics, and climatic factors.
In addition, mountainous areas present unique challenges, such as a sudden increase in the amount of waste generated during the tourist season, and extensive changes in waste characteristics. This includes barriers to the availability of large quantities of plastics and other, special waste and land for disposal.
Pakistan has some of the best mountainous areas in the world, including some of the highest peaks and long glaciers in the world. The Karakoram, the Himalayas, and the Hindu Kush are part of the country.
The melting of glaciers and ice brings water into the country’s rivers, including the Indus River, an important source of water for the country’s agricultural and industrial sectors.
The study said that while all populated areas, whether hilly or not, face problems with solid waste disposal, hilly areas have their own location, remoteness, fragmented population, sensitive and fragile ecosystem, infrastructure. And the lack of a road network and poor institutional and financial capacity pose additional challenges.
According to the study report, this makes it more difficult to provide services in mountainous areas than in plains. The report warns that mountain tourism is gaining importance in Pakistan and has the potential to be an important part of the economy in these regions, but polluted places will be an obstacle to this opportunity.
Furthermore, solid waste management in mountainous areas can create employment opportunities, but if not done properly, it will have long-term negative effects on the environment, human health, and the local economy.