KV Network

Controlling our greed

Controlling our greed
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Wetlands and water bodies act as flood absorption basins by retaining excess waters and are also referred as the Earth’s kidneys for helping absorb wastes like nitrogen and phosphorous. These wet lands assume a huge significance in a place like Kashmir Valley as they help is avoiding the flood threats and serve as major sources of irrigation as well.
In view of its flat topography, the Valley is highly vulnerable to flooding, but most wetlands, which acted as reservoirs of floodwaters, have lost their carrying capacity due to haphazard urbanisation and encroachments.
These facts turned into realities during the 2014 deluge when most parts of Kashmir Valley especially Srinagar city witnessed mammoth damages due to floods that left every sphere of life affected.
Ironically, most of these wetlands and water bodies which are connected to the Jhelum basin are gasping for breath due to both official and public apathy. The flood vulnerability of the Jhelum basin has been exacerbated during the last few decades as most of the wetlands in the river’s floodplains, which used to act as storage for the floodwaters, have been converted into agriculture land or built up areas.
The glaring examples are for all of us to see as several important wetlands in the Jhelum floodplains like Hokarsar, Bemina, Narakara, Batamaloo numbal, Har Nambal, Baba Demb, Rakh-e-Arth, Anchar Lake and Gilsar witnessing tremendous stress or have vanished altogether.
The total area of major wetlands in the Jhelum basin, with area greater than 25 hectare, has decreased from 288.96 sq-km in 1972 to 266.45 sq-km at present. Besides, the valley has lost 22 wetlands to urbanisation within and in the vicinity of Srinagar city alone, since 1970.
The story is no different in rural areas as the massive conversion of wet land area into build up areas has meant loss of more absorption basins.
However, the past few weeks really provided an opportunity for all of us to ponder over the plight of water bodies in Kashmir Valley especially Srinagar city. The lost water bodies like Anchar Lake, Khushal Sar and Nala Amir Khan were restored by sincere efforts of some environmental activists besides a genuine help from various government officials as well.
These water bodies are witnessing a threat as most of them are experiencing extreme pollution, encroachment and brazen violation of environmental norms. Though a beginning has been made but a lot needs to be done to help them maintain the status they have achieved after years of toil by various individuals.
Though lot of funds, time and other resources have been spend in the past for revival of most of these water bodies but the reality was that nothing was being obtained on ground and the situation kept going from bad to worse.
What we are witnessing is the lack of scientific approach to tackle this pressing issue so that some progress is made to achieve a breakthrough to ensure that other water bodies and wetlands are preserved and let to survive for the benefit of this place and our posterity.
It is a harsh reality that water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir are shrinking at an alarming pace. Reasons can be many but prominently unplanned urbanisation, siltation and lack of conservation measures are turning these wetlands into marshy lands and later our greed turns them into commercial and residential zones.

KV Network

Kashmir Vision cover all daily updates for the newspaper

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