Too little, too late
Dal Lake is synonymous to Kashmir. Once Kashmir word is heard or uttered the first visuals that cross the mind is the famed Dal Lake and its beautiful surroundings. But as of now these beautiful and serene visuals are fast turning into a dream as the Lake is not only shrinking at a fast pace but the greed of humans is making things even worse and that too at a very fast pace.
Pollution and encroachments have resulted in the Dal Lake shrinking from its original area of 22 square kilometers to about 10 square kilometers. This data was provided by the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) in 2017 and still the government of the day slept over it and did nothing to initiate steps to stop this rapid pace of shrinkage of the Dal Lake.
What was most concerning is that the water quality in the lake has deteriorated to such an extent that it has been rendered useless.
The survey also found that intense pollution by untreated sewage and solid wastes that flow into the lake, encroachments of water channels and clogging has diminished the circulation and inflows into the lake, leading to extensive growth of the weed water hyacinth which has emerged as a health hazard.
All the natural water springs that were feeding the Lake have been clogged and there is no discharge of fresh water into the lake which has created quite a messy situation. The siltation caused by the human greed has reduced the depth of the lake at many places and that continuing night soil discharge from the 800 to 900 houseboats causes extreme pollution in the water body.
All this has been happening during all these years and the governments from time to time have been ignoring the well being of the Lake. Though lots of public money has been spend but it seems that all the measures have been half hearted.
Now as the Lake continues to turn into a marshy land, the Jammu and Kashmir government has set up a ten-member committee to declare Srinagar’s famous Dal Lake and its surrounding areas as an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ).
The 10-member committee will finalise the draft of the notification for declaring Dal Lake and its surrounding areas as eco-sensitive zone and shall finalize the draft notification within a period of one month.
But given the situation the move seems to be too little and too late as the Lake needs immediate attention and start of restoration works on war footing. That alone will help in its restoring the lake and help it live a bit longer. Otherwise, the death of the famed lake is inevitable.