High(er) Pollution Levels

High(er) Pollution Levels
  • 3
    Shares

The brand pull association of Kashmir is that of a pristine, fresh clean air, sublimely beautiful place , whose defining features are verdant meadows, lush majestic forests and mountains, gushing streams and awesome lakes. While much of this remains, but the prosaic reality also is the converse. We are gradually losing our forest cover; ours rivers and lakes are shrinking and so on. Of these associations with and the reality of Kashmir, perhaps what affects and will affect the people of the region most is pollution, especially air pollution. There is, an increasing element, of air pollution, both of the visible and the felt variety and the invisible sort (the kind that is not immediately felt but is equally insidious and harmful). While the increased traffic and the emissions thereof are the immediate and visible culprits for the phenomenon, the problem is more holistic and accrues from interrelated factors and issues. (Obiter dictum, it is, in a way , a mercy that Kashmir does not have many factories or carbon emitting establishments). Pollution levels here are paltry in comparison to other places like Delhi and other Third World cities. But, this is a false comparison. We must not and should not compare ourselves to others. Kashmir, being Kashmir, is in its own league. We must then strive for a pollution free valley or, realistically speaking, a Kashmir where pollution levels are at a bare minimum. The question is: how can this condition or state be arrived at? We must , first, understand the reasons for the rising levels of pollution here. These accrue and emanate from a dwindling forest cover, a dissipating green cover in our cities, flawed and bad urbanization, marauding of our water bodies like rivers and lakes and , of course, higher density and volume of vehicles on and off the road, among other things. To reduce pollution, we must then conceive and think of the natural environment in Kashmir as an extension of ourselves and thereby as something that we hold in trust for the present and both the future. This conceptual clarity would be the first and pre eminent starting point. The rest would be mere corollaries. We do not and should not want to bequeath upon future generations a Kashmir that is dirty, polluted and shorn of its natural beauty that is of a sublime nature. Let us then take a pledge and begin the good work now!