World Biodiversity Day and Our Responsibilities

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Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better- Albert Einstein

By: Aubaid Ahmed Akhoon

Biological Diversity provides a guideline for understanding the theory of existence of life for everything including human life and plays a key role in maintaining life process. The dawn of the modern day technological world has put under threat the rare species of animals and plants, their natural environment and geographical location due to natural and anthropogenic processes. These creatures play an important role in keeping the system of the planet in a certain order and if it is destroyed, the system of the planet will also be severely affected.

Every year International World Biodiversity Day is celebrated on 22 June in order to create awareness regarding biodiversity matters and this year’s theme is “We’re part of the solution’. The slogan was chosen to be a continuation of the momentum generated last year under the overarching theme ‘Our solutions are in nature’.

The purpose of the celebration is to raise awareness of biodiversity conservation and to emphasize the need for significant steps to achieve this goal. Climate change poses a major challenge to biodiversity as it changes the natural environment so rapidly. Influenced by the fact that many animals and plants do not adapt quickly to new conditions

Almighty has blessed the land of Kashmir with charming, soothing and beautiful landscapes, the weather here, the streams, the waterfalls, the mountains is unparalleled and so are the responsibilities to maintain to natural ambience. It is the individual as well as responsibility of every conscious human being to protect and appreciate the survival of the beautiful environment and never engage into something that goes to harm it.

We have been witnessing great natural disasters and there is a significant change in the weather patterns across the globe as we have upset the balance of the environment and it is not surprising that such incidents occur in future too and with greater intensity.

Here in Kashmir, if we see how the famous Dal Lake is shrinking by every passing day and how our water table is reducing, we will be alarmed. But the fact of the matter is that it is we who are responsible for this and we must wake up to understand that such scenarios will lead us to a position of no return and harm our environment beyond repairs. The same is the case with Wular Lake, Manasbal Lake and many famous lakes.

Environmentalists have revealed that 75% of Dal Lake has been destroyed. LAWDA, an organization set up to restore the splendor of Dal and other lakes, has failed at every level and the aquatic life of Dal Lake has been severely affected. My hometown is located on the banks of the river Jhelum. I have heard from my father that until about 40 years ago, the water of the river of Jhelum was used for drinking without any filtration, but today we avoid using tap water without a filter. See how things have changes in just a few decades.

Just a month ago, the Govt issued a new advisory as the Chief Secretary directed the Forest Department, which is the nodal department for preparation of digital inventory, documentation and development of geo-spatial database on wetlands, to profile various wetlands of Jammu and Kashmir and subsequently recommend their notification under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Wetland (Conversation & Management) Rules, 2017.

There are a total number of 3754 water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir which are being regulated by different departments and agencies including Forest, Wildlife, Soil & Water Conservation, and local government bodies Directions were issued to bring Wular Lake, Dal Lake, Nigeen, Sanasar, Manasbal lakes and Purmandal under protection and conservation as Protected Wetlands.

One can only hope that the department will now work hard to disprove the centuries-old tradition of lack of commitment and will initiate proactive steps to ensure a better treatment of our nature.

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