Military city, Wah Cantonment (abbreviated to Wah Cantt.) is located in 30 km to the north west of Rawalpindi/Islamabad. It is a valley, surrounded by margalla hills in all directions and the area is suitable for growing every sort of crops, especially fruits. This area was not much developed before the construction of the POF, but now it is one of the most advanced and developed places in Pakistan
Wah Cantt runs between Taxila and hasanabdal. The name 'Wah' has its roots in the Mughal era with the Mughal emperor Jahangir who coined the name when his army was stationed at Wah, in route from a visit to Kashmir. The Emperor was impressed by the scenery of that place, so he said "Wah" ('wow') and so that village was named 'Wah' after that exclamation. The Mughal arrival had a strong impact on the architecture of the village so the whole area which is still visible to date had prominent Mughal sites nearby as the Wah Gardens. After gaining Independence, Pakistan had no facilities capable of producing armaments and military goods so urgent plans were made for an ordnance factory near Wah village, Punjab. Thus, the Wah Cantonment came into being in 1951.
Wah Cantt is a multicultural City. People with various ethnic and religious background live and work here. People are skillful and educated and most are factory employees. The city is said to have best facilities in the entire country with a solid health care and education system.
At the junction of Wah and Taxila located is the Gulistan colony that is one of the private housing colonies: not owned by the cantonment. That place was chosen for survey as it is located far from main cantt area and is in this way one of the areas that are more often being neglected. Most of the people have awareness about health care and sanitation but unfortunately most of them still lag behind in practical implementation of measures that are needed to be taken immediately.
First and foremost problem faced by the people of colony was the runoff after precipitation that gathered all around their houses in streets. All houses in whole colony were lined by a continuous open drain in front of each house, creating an offensive odor in whole atmosphere of the colony, as the drain was carrying waste water from houses. On the other hand the area was not properly leveled, that’s why houses at lower elevation were at greater risk from rain water that enters their houses. Water from drain gets mixed up with the runoff in this way threatening the hygiene and health of people living there.
Whole colony was provided with only one filtration plant, which was also not facilitating people efficiently as the respondents revealed that timings of opening and closing the filtration plant entirely did not suit their routine and if the water is being stored for more than one day, Its quality is also not satisfactory so only few of them used that water for drinking purpose.
Inhabitants have completely non-serious attitude towards mode of solid waste disposal. Most of them disposed their solid waste in open places/plots, even in front of their houses, presenting unhygienic conditions over there. Few of them disposed of their solid wastes at community bins through garbage collectors that they had hired on payment.
Talking about their water supply and sanitation; 50% of respondents used mineral water for drinking purpose but the quality of that water is highly questionable as it is supplied to them by local re-fillers and people completely rely upon that without carrying out water testing. They were using unreliable brands without any fear.
Remaining proportion of population use water from boring wells at their homes, to fulfill their domestic and drinking requirements. Few respondents told that they had taken water from their bore wells for lab test and found that water is not suitable for drinking purpose, as it indicated to have the properties of hard water .In the same locality many people who are not taking into account this fact, are drinking that water without further boiling or filtering that. It appeared as if these people have become so much immune, as when they were asked about their common health problems, their expressions were quite peaceful. Since the water was taken from bore well at each house, quantity was not a problem but the quality of water was doubtful.
Most importantly, people were so much carried away with the problem of electricity that they were least bothered over the issues of water and sanitation. All their attentions were dragged towards power issue, that’s why problems of health and hygiene appeared secondary to them. Overall picture of the colony was overcrowded. Houses were built in a haphazard way even some of them were without house number and street number with each and every street, sewer and open plots being littered badly.
Enlisted to be a housing colony of a developed city of Pakistan; Gulistan colony was poorly managed and the responsibility of its maintenance comes both on the cantonment as well as on the residents of the colony. If same conditions of carelessness prevailed then it would lead people towards alarming situation. People need to entirely change their behavior by taking into account the importance of environmental issues, by simply considering health and hygiene as an important part of their religious obligation, in order to bring better living conditions for themselves,. If the inhabitants are not concerned to bring about positive environmental change, then only municipal authorities can do nothing good to them and they themselves are going to be accountable for their ultimate fate.