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Environment issues are undoubtedly the biggest issues staring at the face humankind at this juncture. Not only in India but across the globe environmental issues are causing serious upheavals and drastic climatic changes despite numerous organizations, private and government, trying their best to inform, educate and communicate to the masses the ways and means of avoiding practices that lead to drastic environmental issues.

Despite the Supreme Court Orders or the directions of ‘National Green Tribunal’, corporate houses carry on their productions without any checks and balances and without having an iota of concern for the environment.  The fuming chimneys of the factors pump too much of smoke into the sky and the unregulated and mass production of plastic is eating up the planet.

Even the valley of Kashmir, the otherwise ‘Heaven on the Earth’ is not any exception in any case. Apart from the countless environmental issues, whether the excessive use of plastic, the unmanaged waste, the haphazard constructions on agricultural lands are considered, there is a burning issue of ever growing number of brick kilns that are coming up in district Budgam.  The valley is bestowed with amazing natural beauty and great bio diversity with is at a great risk of destruction given the callousness of the local population as well as the government agencies vested with the responsibility of ensuring an environment friendly attitude. It is our moral obligation to save not only the beauty of nature but this biodiversity too which is playing an important role in balancing the ecology.

Budgam District in Kashmir valley has become a hub of illegal Brick Kilns running under the nose of administration. There are near about 230 Brick Kilns only in Budgam district which draws majority of its labour from outside the state apart from young juveniles who are local residents who are way too below the certified age of working.  It is a big question how these brick kilns arrange the labour and also get away with the law enforcing agencies when employing juveniles!

Be it the Karewas, the flora and fauna or the overall environment of the valley, these ever growing brick kilns are enormously affecting the environment. The smoke coming out of the chimneys includes carbon particles and a high concentration of Carbon Monoxide and Sulphur Oxide which can cause common occupational lung disease like asthma and silicosis apart from other health issues.

As per the Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1974, no industry can be established or run without the permission granted by the Pollution Control Board as envisaged under section 25 and 26 . The law is clearly being violated by the Brick Factory owners.  It is simply corruption that has plagued the district administration which is covering up the owners and providing them permission for setting up more and more kilns throwing all rules to the winds.

It is in this regard that J&K RTI Foundation has taken an initiative for organising ‘Save Budgam Movement ‘ and a delegation has also made a representation before Mr. Kursheed Ahmad Ganai, Advisor to Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and put forth the demand for taking action against all the civic bodies who are not implementing the rules and risking the environment of the valley. The foundation has also sought punishment, under law, to all those including (civic bodies) who are violating the Water Prevention And Control of Pollution Act ,1974.

The writer is can be reached at [email protected]

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