Let authorities & citizenry wake up

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World Environment Day

As the people all over the globe are observing World Environment Day amid the Covid-19 pandemic, we in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in Kashmir Valley too need to spare some thoughts and ponder upon what we have done to a place which otherwise was known as Paradise on Earth. Though the pandemic has impacted every sphere of life and has not only killed millions of people but also played havoc with the economies, on environmental front the subsequent lockdowns have bettered the air quality to some extent. However, without debating the impact of pandemic on environment, people need to have a look around and see how humans have been ruthless to their environment. In Kashmir, the water bodies have been the worst hit of human and official callousness. Too much has been written and spoken about the conservation of Srinagar’s Dal lake but it goes without saying that the lake has almost lost its sheen and is dying with every passing day. However, the lake should still be described as “lucky” because it remains in focus most of the time while as other water bodies have suffered massive destruction. Anchar Lake, Gilsar and Khoshalsar have vanished and neither the citizenry nor the governments, that be, have ever bothered to give any attention to these lakes. Believed to be Asia’s largest fresh water lake, Wular, too lacks proper attention. While people have encroached upon these water bodies and have dirtied them by throwing all the garbage and wastage into these bodies, the respective governments too have always played vote-bank politics and never taken any serious and result-oriented steps to restore the glory of these water bodies.

People need to understand that protecting our environment is more important than whatever material aspect of life we can think of. To preserve and save the environment, the people cannot always look towards governments. It is every citizens responsibility to pitch in and contribute his/her bit. Rural Kashmir used to have clean water local rivers and streams all over only three decades back and people would use the water of these bodies. However, though there still exist some signs of local rivers, the streams have turned into dirty and stinking drains. This damage to these water bodies have been done by none but the locals living near these bodies. Peoples’ greed to encroach upon, whatever they manage to, and their insensitivity towards environment has killed once gushing and dancing clean water streams. The authorities too have been ruthless in dealing with water bodies. Scores of Srinagar Municipal Corporation building have been constructed on, what once was known as Doodhganga river. Similarly on Bemina by-pass, the headquarters of Srinagar Development Authority, SKIMS, Police Public School and other offices have been constructed on a land which used to be part of a larger water body. In this backdrop, both the government and the people need to wake up on this World Environment Day and do some introspection. Saving and preserving environment is a guarantee that future generation will have an healthy atmosphere to live. They deserve it and it is our duty to ensure that they get it.

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