The shrinking water bodies, that were once our pride

We have caused tremendous damage to environment by our greedy and selfish actions, writes Urdu daily Kashmir Uzma editorially. Our water bodies – the greatest resource- are shrinking. All famous lakes, from Wullar to Anchar, are not only shrinking, but their waters are polluted. We have destroyed our forests. We have used agriculture land for building mansions. It shows that we have become insensitive because of our greed and irresponsible behavior.

Excerpts:

 

The tragedy:

“It is a tragedy that as a community (nation) we are not only losing moral and human values, but even our human sensitivity. There can be dozen of examples to show that. If we just ponder over, how during many decades we have been damaging our environment because of our selfishness and wrong behavior, and as a consequence losing our national resource, we might have an idea of where we stand. Our water bodies, our water resources, are shrinking with every day, and the forest cover is continuously getting reduced. Anybody could feel sad and gloomy on reading media reports about the destruction of our lakes and water bodies. The largest fresh water lake in Asia, Wullar lake, that was 217 sq km in 1911, has shrunk to mere 58 sq km. This revelation has been made by Wetland International – South Asia, after a survey. The reason for its shrinking, is the continuous encroachments on its banks. According to data, 70,000 kanals of the lake area has been converted into agriculture land by filling up and plantation. As it is, 28% of lake has been converted into agriculture land and 17% has been subjected to plantation. The survey also points out that the sewage and waste that goes into it because of Jhelum river, has also worsened its condition. The lake that was famous for its sweet water, is now full of sewage and waste.”

 

Wullar Lake:

“Some decades before, Wullar Lake was the key to tackle the flood-like situation that would be created by vagaries of weather. The lake could in its body, hold a major part of flood waters. The lake was also a place, where birds would make their home. It was because of the coming of migratory birds, it was famous. In 1990, under Ramsar Convention, Wullar lake was given international status. It is unfortunate that our governments one after another, have failed to give protection to Dal Lake, Nigeen and Anchar, also failed in case of Wullar and all claims made by government proved to be mirage. Inspite of the fact that state got aid/funds from national and international sources in billions (arabs) for protection of our natural resources – especially water resources. Only 7 years ago, Centre gave a grant of Rs. 389 crores in 2011. But because of corruption and embezzlements of our bureaucrats, the state’s natural resources are getting destroyed. The general impression is that these natural resources have become a source of income for the ‘big fish’. That is the reason that the condition of not only Wullar, but Dal lake, Nigeen, Anchar, Khushal Sar, Babademb and other dozens of water bodies has become worst.”

 

Our Tradition:

“The surprising thing is that our ‘ancestors’ though not educated, were conscious about the protection of environment. It was Sheikh Noor-ud-din who said, ‘Food will last, as long as forests last’. Our ancestors would not conceive of throwing dust or sewage into lake. But we, the educated people did not feel any compunction in diverting drainage and sewage towards water bodies. During lifetime of our ancestors, forests were thriving. But, because of our selfishness, these are continuously shrinking. We constructed concrete mansions on agriculture land and we feel proud of this. It seems materialism has made us insensitive. Yet we don’t feel aggrieved on seeing the situation. Civilized people, who are conscious, get engaged in protecting the environment, but we are bent upon destroying. There can’t be worse kind of greed/selfishness.”

 

[Courtesy: Urdu daily Kashmir Uzma, Srinagar, Kashmir, December 28, 2018].

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