Prioritise protection of wetlands: SAVAE

Srinagar: A Kashmir based developmental organization, South Asian Voluntary Association of Environmentalists (SAVAE), Sunday urged the government and the people of the state to protection of wetlands and environment one of the top priorities of governance.
In a statement issued on the occasion of the World Wetlands Day, SAVAE has said that the environment and ecology of this region has been massively degraded in the recent decades more so during the past few years. “One of the glaring manifestations of this environmental degradation was the recent destructive flood which is mainly attributed to the destruction of environment through lack of proper policies,” the statement reads.
Quoting the Director of New Delhi based think-tank Center for Science and Environment (CSE), Sunita Narayan, the statement says that it were the lack of proper policies and unplanned infrastructure development on the part of the government which resulted into a disaster of a scale witnessed on September, 2014 in Jammu & Kashmir and in Utrakhand in 2013.
The statement said that the water bodies in the state have particularly undergone hue degradation because of encroachments and unchecked population. “Even in the twenty first century all the untreated wastes and sewage finds its way into our precious water bodies which once used to be pristine, due to the lack of proper sewage treatment and garbage disposal facilities,” the statement said and appealed the upcoming government to take the infrastructure development regarding the environmental protection as one of their top priorities.
Commenting further on the state of wetlands in Kashmir the statement said that all the major wetlands of Kashmir including the Ramsar sites, Hokersar and Wullar, have considerably reduced in size due the unchecked encroachments. “Today, they wear a look of disconcerting degradation,” it said.
The SAVAE urged the people in general and government and civil society groups in particular to make full use of global events like world wetlands days and other significant events to renew their pledge of protecting the environment. The organization has also appealed the international Secretariat of Ramsar to impress upon the government of India to protect the wetlands of Kashmir.