Polluting Paradise

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The time is running fast not only we will be cursed by our future generations but also we will have to pay huge price if steps to rectify these problems are not taken at an earliest. The Valley’s main cities – Jammu and Srinagar have become cesspool of pollution.

Waleed Ahmad

Source: Google

Recently when a survey was conducted for the cleanest cities across the India was out, two capitals of Jammu and Kashmir summer capital – Srinagar and winter capital Jammu was at number 240 and 251 respectively. While as Anantnag stood at 151 and Leh stood at 100 and is considered as one of the cleanest cities of the state. The survey alongside hundreds of cities in India was also conducted in four cities of JK and officials took different parameters for this ranking. Kashmir known as paradise on the earth and Jammu considered as city of temples couldn’t hold the reputation and officials have to cut sorry figure for it. Going by the current phase of development and cleanliness, it is tragic for the people of the state that despite being bestowed with vast natural resources the cities are far behind in the cleanliness and proper sanitation and are among the cities that needed lot of attention not only from the government but also from the citizens.  Though the Valley has seen worst phase of militancy since 1990 and for over a decade the institutions got crumbled that resulted into their failure not only thousands of trees were axed, the locals also encroached vast patches of land and not only wetlands but world famous Dal lake and Asia’s largest fresh water lake- witnessed destruction. The cities and towns grew in hafazard manner as the law of land was missing. The Dal lake Wullar was largely transformed into a colony by vested people with vested interests. Of late the writ of government has again been established and government is trying to undo the wrong things that took place in the past but there is a long way to go to establish permanent control over the deteriorating and alarming situation that has almost threatened over water bodies, forests environment and ecology. Few decades ago here in Kashmir very few people knew about pollution now where ever you go heaps of polythene could be found lying on roadside. Earlier there was no trace of smog now in winters we have to witness long days of smog. The water bodies have been polluted to such an extent that potable water that was fit for human consumption few decades ago has turned into poison. Nobody is responsible for this grave situation but the blame lies on the citizens who are taking things casually and paying no attention towards the environment.

The time is running fast not only we will be cursed by our future generations but also we will have to pay huge price if steps to rectify these problems are not taken at an earliest. The Valley’s main cities – Jammu and Srinagar have become cesspool of pollution. And nobody seems to be bothered though for the sake of publicity the government has been regularly issuing advertisements for the self promotion on ground however everything is missing. Instead of crying hoarse, the responsibility to fix the issue of pollution and environment also lies on all the stakeholders especially people. On the one hand when several people are showing concern towards environment by planting more and more trees the government is facilitating axing of trees not only in remote forests but also in the city where recently mammoth chinar trees were felled by government to pave way for road project attracting sharp criticism from the civil society and youths who even organised an event to highlight the issue and the encouraging sign is that some philanthropists led by Abdul Hamid who is an enterpuneur promised to plant 150000 Chinar trees in different parts of the Valley on his own expenses. Time has come when we should involve our young generation especially our school going children in this endeavour to save our environment and get rid of pollution only then we can stop this deteriotion.

Without wasting any further time the government should take pollution as top priority.  As per the officials there are many ways through which pollution could be stopped by involving of younger generation. Besides cleaning water bodies the polythene should be completely banned along with vehicles that spread pollution. What we have seen in the past few years number of vehicles that have been discarded in other states due to pollution problems are now plying on the roads of Kashmir thus spreading more pollution. Likewise brick kilns, cement plants etc are also main sources of pollution and environment degradation. When people and administration in Leh that is part of the state could do it in a nice way why not other parts of the state. The only thing it needs people’s involvement and resolve of the government. If we will not wake up from the deep slumber time will not be away when we will lose this beautiful and magnificent Valley and turn it into desert and no other than our self will be responsible for this manmade disaster.

The story first appeared in print edition of May 17 to 23-2017.

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