Shafat Ahmed Reshi
World is witnessing one more International Wetland Day on February 2. The International Wetland Day has been only reduced to be a symbolic day especially in this part of the world.
Climate change which is direct responsive reaction of nature on our efforts which we put together to destroy our mother earth in various aspects wetlands which acts like kidneys in a human body are shrinking now not only on daily basis but hourly, which means at a very high rate.
We have become so insensitive towards water bodies in general and to our wetlands in particular which deliberately shows our concern towards wetlands and to our environment.
Our planners have miserably failed in their planning while drafting zonal plans, micro plans, master-plans or and even regional plans as far as environmental and ecological aspects and issues are concerned.
One fails to understand why people in general and government administration in particular have become insensitive towards a vital issue of environment and ecology especially water bodies.
All waste whether solid or semi-solid and liquid or hazards or non-hazards, biodegradable or non-biodegradable is finally directed to water bodies only. Do not we know or understand that once the water bodies are choked or failed - means no water for survival of human life, animal life, plant life.
The present water crises are the outcome of this particular action by us one and all. Do not we know that the economy of this particular state is tourism dependent and tourism is directly dependent on environment? So are not we deliberately killing the economy of this state by killing environment?
Have we left any water body in our state without pollution be it at country side or within urban the areas. All our water bodies such as Dal Lake, Wallar Lake, Mansar Lake, AncharLake, KhushhallSar, Gill Sar, ManasbalLake, SaransarLake or canals like PahalgamCanal, DoodhGanga Canal, Suk Nag Canal, RanbirCanal are polluted and near extinction due to polythene.
The new ban on polythene from January 15, 2018 is now another joke played by administration and judiciary with the health of people and place.
Encroachment of water bodies especially wetlands is a human greed by humans at different stages and levels.
The main causes are:
- Lack of required efficient sewerage drainage system and disposal of untreated sewerage water to rivers, canals, lakes and other water bodies/wetlands has eaten up our wet lands and water bodies.
- Encroachment of wet lands, lakes and water bodies by land grabbers under political hand. Also, there is unabated constructions going on in and around water bodies and marshy lands under the watchful eye of the state government. These construction goes un-checked.
- Lack of check dams also reduce the capacities of water bodies due to depositing of silt and other runoff materials from streams and canals into water bodies especially lakes and wet lands.
- Government policies formulated without proper technical know-how and bad town planning is the major cause of vanishing of wet lands and other water bodies. To conserve Dal Lake government proposed shifting of dal dwellers to destroy another water body namely Rakh-Arth, which actually is a known wet land area by filling it with earth and proposed a housing colony over it without. Filling of Rakh-Arthhas disturbed the eco-system of whole of the area including Shalbug Wetlands, HokarsarWetlands, which is a natural habitat of local as well as migratory birds. These birds migrate directly from Siberia, Russiaand China. These birds would also get affected to a large extent. The roll of migratory birds has become thin during past few years and current year winter season.
- Modernisation is must; but not at the cost of environment. High tension wires through the wet lands besides construction of high power communication high rise towers has taken toll of birds both local as well as migratory. Planners are also equally responsible for such unwanted development which is telling upon our environment ecology and health.
- Improper and unscientific disposal of tons of garbage which is transported and deposited near and within wet lands and other water bodies are directly responsible of deterioration of our ecosystem. Now mostly polythene and other plastic substances form major portion of our daily use.
- Polythene, plastic bags and other related plastic substances which are used nowadays in every field of business is great threat to our environment and ecosystem. All channels, canals, rivers, low lying areas, open fields, lakes, water bodies, including wet lands are full of this known bio-degradable plastic material which has penetrated in every walk of life.
- Some factories and brick kilns near the wetlands are also playing a spoil sport.
Better late than never can be taken as a base line and start a fresh at all levels to conserve our water bodies including wet lands by taking all majors of saving environmentto save future generations from hazards diseases and disorders.
Pollution Control Board,Directorate of Environment and Remote Sensing has great role to play as key stake holders and torchbearers.
General public needs to be made aware about environment degradation hazards. On the other hand, government needs to take up this issue on priority and seriously before its too late.
Let us pledge to conserve our wet lands and other water bodies today on this International Wetland Day.