Post by RK News on Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Wetlands are important for maintaining ecological balance, but unfortunately they have not been treated anymore than wastelands. As a result, many of the world’s wetlands have disappeared over the years. Wetlands constitute marshes, peat bogs and swamps, which provide suitable habitat to different biological species including plants and animals. In Kashmir valley wetlands are popular sites for birding as hundreds of species, native and migratory, flock at these sites. The catchment areas are also known for vegetative and fish produce. Despite copious funding, very little has been achieved over the years in terms of conservation of water bodies in general and wetlands in particular. The threat posed to Wullar on account of the rampant exploitation of the lake’s resources and degradation of the catchments owing to population explosion is a matter of grave concern. The discharge of untreated sewage, fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides, used in the catchment orchards, into the lake continues to go unchecked. Besides the heavy load of silt and waste brought in by Jhelum, an estimated 13 tons of solid waste is dumped per day on the banks of Wullar. The need of the hour is to launch a comprehensive management action plan for preservation and conservation of all the important wetlands. And that must include survey demarcation, catchment conservation, water management, bio-diversity conservation, eco-tourism development, sustainable resources development, enhancement of livelihood earning capacity and institutional development. Past experiences show that no matter how comprehensive a project may sound like, its success depends on host of factors, including coordination between the executing agencies, periodic monitoring of the works and active cooperation of people. Employing expensive machines won’t also suffice as is evident from the experience of Dal Lake project. The pollution and gradual shrinking of the water bodies in the valley has been a cause of concern for Kashmiris. The first priority should be to stem further pollution by taking measures like up gradation of drainage and sewerage system in the catchment areas, removal of encroachments, relocation and rehabilitation of the affected people. Previous Governments have shown utter disregard to these facts, as a result of which there are weak community feelings towards conserving our own lakes and water bodies. If sincere efforts are not made the wetlands would disappear and with them would disappear the fauna we proudly say are found in the UT. A meaningful exercise must be taken to save our wetlands from getting extinct. To ensure the success of any project, the government should not repeat the mistakes which have marred the previous efforts to restore our wetlands.