Green Srinagar

Green Srinagar

Broadly speaking, Kashmir’s value, speaking from an aesthetics perspective, lies in its verdant valleys, majestic mountains, rivers and rivulets, lakes and meadows. But, unfortunately, over time, all are under threat. An ecological disaster looms in our Kashmir unless we take urgent and drastic, preventative and pre emptive measures. All this is perhaps best reflected in and around Srinagar cit y that, like all other cities are to their locales, the face the valley. The city has or is in the process of becoming a vast urban sprawl , defined not only by the gradual and inexorable loss of its green cover but also by a certain incoherence. The reasons generally pertain to flawed urbanization, demographic pressures and bad public policy. As a result, Srinagar city has lost its pristine charms and even glories. (Most metropolitan cities across the world have better green cover, even the desert turned oasis, Dubai!). The question is: can the loss of Srinagar city’s green cover be reversed? The answer is that while city cannot be restored to its pristine past but surely a salvage job can be done. It can be perhaps best done by not merely planting saplings or trees but , first, by generating awareness about the environment and how policy and people should relate to it. If the drift of the city carries on as it is, then the day is not far off when the city will resemble an ugly agglomeration of urban dwellings with all its negative concomitant effects. Yet, again awareness is key. The name of the game here is to alter public perceptions regarding the city and the environment and policy follow up that leads to the greening of the city. Central here is publics’ ownership of the city, cityscapes and urbanscapes so much so that people should see the city as an extension of their selves. Without peoples’ ownership and support, no policy measure, even half baked ones like merely planting saplings will help. Any city, generally speaking, is the face of a given region or locale. The same is the case with Srinagar. If the face of our beautiful valley is not flattering, what can be said of the valley? Moreover, if the decay and damage to Srinagar city is not stemmed now, the rot might go deeper. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to take ownership of our city and make it green and vibrant once again!