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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Another worthy contribution by Mrs. Delirium

As we make headlines again for all the wrong reasons, this time we should be given the benefit of the doubt because they were not our doing-not exactly, so to speak.

So following our national sport of evading responsibility and blaming others, this time it is the Almighty himself who is to be blamed. The Heavens have turned against us in the form of floods and that tiny thing causing that beastly disease–Dengue.

 Since this time surprisingly it was not our not-so-friendly-neighbors infesting mosquitoes and using them in place of nuclear weapons, nor was it a conspiracy on the part of the superpowers using them as micro drones. Of course, there is always the theory of Biological Warfare by our enemies using the mosquitoes as a vector. By the way our population keeps on growing by leaps and bounds; it will take them a while to commit genocide, even if they wanted to.

The popular view is that Azaab-e-Ilaahi has descended upon us to punish our deeds. Not that there is the slightest of doubt in anyone’s mind regarding the Almighty’s displeasure with us as a nation. We are guilty of all the evils mentioned in the Book and failing to acknowledge them beneath the cloak of self-righteousness.

These natural disasters if anything have ripped apart the gaping holes in our system. Our lack of basic infrastructure and myopic vision making it impossible to respond to any disaster is apparent. The Japanese had their earthquakes and the Americans had their hurricanes in the not too distant past. Undisputedly, they are rich on resources available at their disposal. But how we have managed to use/abuse ours is also a study in itself. The damage inflicted has been blown out of proportion by our own incompetence.

While there will be innovative means deployed to raise funds for the floods (conferences, telethons etc.), one wishes the same imagination had been used for something erstwhile in apprehension of the impending floods.

The Government has responded with surprising alacrity to the Dengue crisis, but while our neighbors have been successful in containing it through research, we chose to ignore the problem when it could have been effectively dealt with without causing the large-scale damage it is causing today.

However, it is also in moments like these when one sees the spirit of nationhood re-kindled and everyone contributing in whatever way they can to help. Also, it is amusing to see the local health authorities preaching lessons of public health, long forgotten and never implemented upon. Overnight, we seem to have discovered the benefits of keeping our environs clean and realizing the importance of prevention.

And in a typical hypocritical way, we would spend more time organizing en-masse prayers than take any practical steps for this purpose but the hand of divinity is omnipotent and ubiquitous, like a variable biasing the end-result of a spreadsheet. Because when one has managed to the best of one’s ability; we conclude “Dua karein. Allah behter karega.”

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The bewildering 39 kms long trail that runs from Thandiani to Nathiagali and unveils the heavenly beauty of pine covered ‘Galiyaat’.

 
 

Dilapidated kitchen look alike at Dagri Bangla

 

Ruptured forest bangla at Dagri. Never repaired following the massive 2005 earthquake. The word is that the structure is going to be demolished soon.

 

A sublime sunset

 

Our sweet lil abode 🙂

 

 

A breathtaking view of Nathiagali from Miran Jani top; The heighest point of 'Galiyat' 9,561 ft ASL overlooking pine clustered Nathiagali

 

 

The poor natives; The unwashed masses

 

The quaint Church at Nathiagali

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With an unwavering commitment to set foot on anything that remotely resembles a mound or a dune, my eccentric quest and pursuit continues. The latest victim happens to be the remains and left over of a structure that once stood tall like a dignified rock. While the British were busy extracting all the jewels and treasures of the ‘golden bird of subcontinent’, they ruthless crushed and reduced the endeavouring rock to pieces. Whatever is left of this mound, it lends its name to the wannabe hill station situated in an endless ocean of plains called ‘Sangla hill’.

Located at some 55 kms from the industrial centre of Faisalabad roughly to its North East, the government has finally realized and developed a park surrounding the so called hill ( more of monument) to conserve the remains. Once approached, despite scorching heat and blazing sun, the temptation got the better of me to climb (read crawl) to the top and take some photographs, just in case, one fine day the hill just disappears from the face of the planet like scores of others that vanished from its neighbourhood leaving it behind as a solitary mark of distinction today.

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The queen of hills as it is majestically known, Murree holds a unique pedestal amongst the hill stations of Pakistan. Established as a sanatorium for British troops, that soon developed into the summer headquarters of Punjab government, the town was built in the middle of 19th century. Most significant historical land marks such as church and the “The Mall” were constructed in 1857 and afterwards.   

Located at a distance of 65 km and nearly 90 minutes drive from Federal Capital Islamabad, thickly clustered alpine paradise exuding bewitching beauty, remains highly accessible throughout the year. Perched up at an elevation of about 2300 m ASL (7500 ft), the hills remain draped in white sheet of snow mostly during December to March. The annual precipitation is nearly 1500 mm, in all probability, the highest anywhere in Pakistan. 

Golf course and hill resort of Bhurban, having an elevation of nearly 2000 m, are also located in the vicinity of Murree. Development of Murree expressway recently has rendered accessibility even better. 

A few pictures taken during a damp afternoon are attached here: 

 

PC Bhurban on a soaked day

Though one of the most charming places to visit, the influx of tourists much beyond the capacity and development has taken its toll. Lack of planning, human intervention and haphazard construction without any strict control or codes have contributed considerably to the environmental and ecological degradation. The green patches are being ruthlessly ripped away while heaps of debris are becoming increasingly visible. At times, even a stink of foul odours overrides the fragrance and freshness of the breeze that is the trademark of the overwhelming atmosphere. 

We have to act responsibly to preserve the rapidly depleting beauty and aura of the place!

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There must be something in their blood or strewn in their culture that brings such enviable discipline, tolerance and patience that is hallmark of the champion Japanese nation. Imagine a small isolated country comprising series of islands fraught with rugged mountains and rough terrain combating triple disaster posed by the natural and human intervention.

A country and a nation probably most exposed to the frequent deadly earthquakes round the globe, Japan is arguably the most equipped and trained nation that responds to such a disaster. But horrifying even to think what it is pitted against right now!

An unprecedented earthquake (of the order of 9.0/9.1 on Richter scale) unleashing tremors of the magnitude that have NEVER been recorded in the history of the country before. These waves triggered not only a series of aftershocks but unleashed monstrous tsunami waves as high as 10 metres that swept away vehicles, installations and settlements like toys and doll houses in their rage as the heavens wrecked fury. As if it was not sufficient, the problems compounded a great deal by explosions in the nuclear reactors releasing radiations to the atmosphere and even generating a possibility of a meltdown according to certain quarters. According to latest update, the gravity of the situation has worsened and surged to level 6 on the international scale of safety operating on a scale of 0 to 7. The radiation leak is and may cause serious health hazards within its domain of influence that has a potential to spread gradually.

As the mother nature disgourged all its wrath and the disaster continued unabated, element of human intervention to natural course added a catastrophic dimension to the overall imbalance making one really wonder if the artificial and technological breakthroughs, in a holistic sense, are bringing any sustainable betterment to the mankind or potentially bringing it to the verge of destruction and elimination?

Leaving that argument aside, what is exemplary is the way the nation is responding to the disaster. Even if we talk of the nuclear reactors, the structures have sustained the tremors and conditions much beyond their design capacity. It is the operational failure engendered to devastating conditions that is causing all the havoc.

In spite of depleting supplies, no electricity, fuel and even water, the survivors reportedly wait in long lines for the basic utilities. There is little anger and no loot. Four days after the major catastrophe, the community is responding in a most responsible manner by sharing food with neighbours and cutting back on electricity supplies to diminish blackouts. The disrupted transport systems are forcing many to stay overnight at the remote cities and the people have opened their homes to others. To quote abc News “”I heard someone say they had two bottles of water and gave one to someone else.”  

Japanese are a caring nation known to be hospitable and courteous to their neighbours and community in particular. This is the kind of spirit that is developing all the unity, bonding and interlocking enabling them to stand as an iron wall in the face of sheer adversity in this hour of need.

The Japanese prime minister in his speech to the nation on Sunday night declared that they were confronting the most serious crisis since the second world war.

True the prospects of a potential disaster still loom large and there is still a lot to worry about and deal with. But then he knew, he was addressing a nation that taught the world what rebuilding was all about_ A nation that despite all odds against it, rose from the rubbles of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to emerge as the third largest economy of the world within a matter of decades.

Be it the quality and conformity, Kaizan , productivity, efficiency, motivation, organizational behaviour, loyalty, commitment , emergency response or disaster management there is a lot to learn from these superhumans from the land of rising sun. With the massive flood devastation hardly behind us and a lot of rebuilding to go for, time to take a leaf out of their book!

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