SRINAGAR: The government of Jammu and Kashmir needs to formulate a policy to ensure “sustainability and cleanliness” of the state’s water bodies, the speakers at a seminar organised by South Asian Voluntary Association of Environmentalists (SAVAE) urged.
In the one-day event organised by the developmental organisation at Tahira Khanim’s College of Education here, the participants said the government should make accessibility to safe drinking water a top priority to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.
“Notwithstanding the fact that recent disasters that struck the state were described as manmade disasters, given the extension of built-up areas right in water bodies, the government is yet to come up with a specific policy,” said Parvaiz Bhat, Executive Director of SAVAE.
“Protection and ensuring the sustainability of our water resources also makes a lot of economic sense, since the economy of Jammu and Kashmir is partly dependent on the protection and cleanliness of water in the form of tourism and generation of hydropower,” he added.
The state’s water reserves such as glaciers and wetlands attract tourists to the region, he said, adding that “unfortunately our water resources continue to be under strain despite their economic and ecological significance.”
Javed Ahmed Baba, who is Principal of the College, said the nature has put everything at its proper place and there is no weakness in the system.
“Nature is not furious, in fact it is very calm and balanced, but if man tries to imbalance it, it will certainly hit him back. Everything has its limits, and nature will also bear the cruelty of man till a certain extent only,” Baba said, referring to the September floods.
Bilal Ahmad, Chairman of SAVAE, said the waterborne diseases kill more people globally than the notorious diseases like cancer.
“Nearly 8, 00,000 women die every year because they lack access to safe toilets and clean water,” he said.
Javed Ahmad, a senior Professor of the College, said the contaminated water can be a cause of many deadly diseases.
The programme concluded with the organisers distributing certificates among the speakers.
The event was supported by Global Water Partnership-India.