In an uplifting and rare story from a very precious and endangered area of the world, we can see why those of us who are working for better environmental preservation should continue to work for good in all situations.
A major development project in one of the best preserved and ecologically healthiest areas of the Himalayan forest was dissolved by Pakistan’s Supreme Court this week. This is despite the fact that it was supported by the Pakistan government.
The development was supposed to go right in the middle of important habitat for 15 different species of mammals (including the Common Leopard), 146 different bird species (including rare ones such as pheasants and the Paradise Flycatcher), 22 reptile species, 6 amphibian species, and 200 plant species. The development would have included golf courses, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, and other related projects. It was supposed to be a tourist center.
The area of the forest is not only an important habitat for other species. It is also a source of some of the area’s best water for local humans. As WWF-Pakistan director of freshwater, Hammad Naqi Khan, says: “this area was a key part of one of the best remaining Himalayan temperate forest areas in Punjab. The forest guaranteed better quality water with lower levels of sediments and pollutants for Simlay and Mangla reservoirs.”
Due to the sensitivity of the Supreme Court, combined with a focused media and legal campaign, the development proposal is not going to happen and no similar projects can happen in that area either.
This is a great success story for environmentalists all over the world. Thank you to WWF, locally concerned citizens, and the Supreme Court of Pakistan for this result.
For more on the story, read the press relase by WWF.
Image Credit 1: law_kevin via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: huggy47 via flickr under a Creative Commons license