Dying Water Bodies

Dying Water Bodies
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There is increasingly a dissonance between “brand Kashmir” and the realities of Kashmir in the sense of its pristine beauty and landscape. This is perhaps best illustrated by the current nature and condition of our water bodies which are not only shrinking by the day but are actually in the throes of death. The result is severe and intense ecological imbalance(s) whose short term, midterm and long term consequences can only be disastrous. The reasons for the depletion and dying of our water bodies are manifold. Besides demographics in the sense of growing and burgeoning population, which creates added stress on water bodies, there is the aspect of sheer abuse of these. Some people, for instance, created barriers and buffers on and in Anchar Lake so that the level of sand would get raised and these portions of the lake would then be converted into land for use. Similarly, houses and residences were built on banks of rivers and lakes which led to encroachment. The story and saga of the much famed Dal Lake is all too familiar: besides the effluents of houseboats, waste is often times dumped into this lake which has not only shrunk it considerably but also polluted it extensively. Now, besides the reasons there is the element of patronage politics which allows all this to happen unabated and unchecked. The response of various administrations has been lackadaisical, to say the least. The structural reasons for the diminishment, depletion and even destruction of our water bodies have not been addressed. Whatever little that has been done or is being done is not enough; in fact, it amounts to mere tinkering. The end result is destruction of our water bodies and the attendant severe ecological imbalance(s), destruction of habitats of rare species of birds and animals, flora and fauna. Can, the question is, the condition of these water bodies, be redressed? Unfortunately, at this point of time, given their condition, for the major and visible bodies, only a salvage job can be done. The first step or starting point is seriousness and earnestness and then a comprehensive follow up which should also mean getting rid of corruption and corrupt practices thereof. Lest, our famed water bodies disappear with the passage of time, on account of negligence or sheer, willful harm by predators, it is high time that the process of salvaging water bodies be begun the soonest. We owe it to Kashmir and our future generations.

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