Fragile Environment

June 7, 2018 EDITORIAL 114 Views
Fragile Environment

With politics and conflict taking the centre-stage in Kashmir, environmental and ecological issues have not received proper attention. With little scrutiny, successive governments have also got away with their flawed policies and half-hearted measures in addressing environmental issues some of which have gradually come to assume dangerous proportions. All the political set up in the State, especially from Chief Minister to any cabinet minister have been raising concern over the Dal Lake deterioration and the fragile ecology surrounding it. They should understand that the Despite laws seeking to protect the environment, our water bodies are polluted and shrinking, our forest cover has reduced and our wildlife is threatened. Flooding, silting and landslides have become more common. Law enforcement is either poor or susceptible to corruption. Take for instance, the plight of the world famous Dal Lake. Despite crore of rupees being allocated for its restoration, authorities have failed to stop the pollution and encroachments from strangling it to death. Wullar Lake and its wetlands have also been shrinking in area over the years, symbolizing the human apathy towards nature. Kashmir is also known for its wetlands like Hokersar, but the official figures about their encroachment and subsequent decline in the number of migratory birds is frightening. 2014’s devastating floods were attributed, among other factors, to lack of proper dredging of river Jhelum and the flood channels. The government has failed to address different aspects of the problem like carrying capacity of Jhelum and the weakening of its embankments owing to human settlements close to the river banks. Climate change can no longer be seen as an irrelevant or remote issue in the context of Kashmir as we look into its manifestations in the valley. Kashmir conflict may have served as a blessing in disguise for the wild animals, but the frequent incidents of man-animal conflict serve as a reminder about the human encroachment into their habitat which we explore in one of the feature stories here. Tourist resorts like Pahalgam and Sonamarg have also witnessed serious threat to their ecology. We have not spared even the meadows and foothills of these resorts from vandalization. Authorities have failed to implement a comprehensive policy to safeguard the natural beauty and ecological balance of these places. We see glimpses of human complacency towards the fragile ecology. It is high time that we step up to protect our environment from further degradation lest it gets too late.

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