Allah Almighty has blessed the land of Kashmir with soothing and beautiful landscapes. The weather here, the streams, the waterfalls, the mountains, the culture, the hospitality of the place is unparalleled. Poets, writers, scholars have endowed Kashmir with the title of Paradise. If any class of person or individual tries to harm this beauty, it is our collective and individual responsibility to stop it. We have the example of the Dal Lake before us. If in the early stages the cleanliness of the Dal had been taken care of, the government would not have had to spend crores of rupees every year on its survival. That money could have been used for the development of Kashmir. The same is the case with Wullar, Manasbal and many famous lakes. Environmentalists have revealed that 75% of the Dal Lake has been destroyed. LAWDA , an organisation set up to restore the splendour of Dal and other lakes, has failed at every level and the aquatic life of Dal Lake has been severely affected. My hometown is located on the banks of the river Jhelum. I have heard from my father that until about 30 years ago, the water of the Jhelum was used for drinking without any filtration. Today we even avoid using tap water without a filter.
According to a poet, “The house caught fire with its own lamp.” We have brought the axe upon our own feet with our own hands. Tourism plays an important role in the economy of Kashmir. Now the Amarnath Yatra is about to begin. It is hoped that government departments will take necessary steps in order to keep the Pahalgam Valley clean from environmental pollution. The action plan must have been set up, hopefully.
A few days ago, the government issued a new advisory which is as follows: The Chief Secretary directed the Forest Department’, which is the nodal department for preparation of digital inventory, documentation and development of geo-spatial database on wetlands, to profile various wetlands of Jammu and Kashmir and subsequently recommend their notification under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Wetland (Conversation & Management) Rules, 2017.’
There are a total of 3,754 water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir which are being regulated by different departments and agencies including Forest, Wildlife, Soil & Water Conservation, and local government bodies. Directions were issued to bring Wular Lake, Dal Lake, Nigeen, Sanasar, and Manasbal lakes and Purmandal under protection and conservation as Protected Wetlands.
It is hoped that the department will now work hard to disprove the centuries-old tradition of new bottles with old wine.