Twelve among the total nineteen water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar have dried up, according to an official document.
The dried up water bodies include Sumbalar Tachi Mohalla Dara, Parinag Chatterhama, Nishat Temple Nag, Checki Dara, Ishber Astan Akhon Mohalla, Kachrinag Ishber, Ishber Kral Mohalla, Paltan Gan Wadi, Drang Mohalla Ishber, Zewan Payeen, Darnar Nag Shalkund and Mokdam Mohalla Zewan. The estimated cost for the restoration is 43.5 lakh rupees.
According to the District Environment Plan, 2021, the water bodies – Hokersar Wetland, Marsar, Khushalsar & Gilsar, Anchar & Dal, Baba Demb, Sarband Reservoir and Mucharnag – face the problem of silting, de-weeding and marshy land due to filling of waste material.
The remaining water bodies face the problem of silting and weeds and the total amount involved in the restoration of all the water bodies is 3.7 crore rupees.
Hokersar is a wetland spread over 13.75 km2 (5.31 sq mi) including lake and marshy area. It is the most accessible and well known of Kashmir’s wetlands which include Hygam, Shalibug and Mirgund. A record number of migratory birds have visited Hokersar in recent years.
The District Environment Plan also calls for various action plans for different thematic areas.
“In district Srinagar, the current Environmental Status is within safe limits, however, a lot of efforts in terms of all types of waste management have been made practical by the active involvement of authorities and the general public,” it states.
The plan underscores the need for “mass participation” to prevent the deterioration and degradation of the environment,
“While the task of conserving and preserving our environment during these modern times is quite herculean, various gaps have been identified in each and every action area and these have to be implemented,” the plan envisages. “Mass afforestation drives and stopping the use of fossil fuels can help solve this problem.”
According to the DEP, “this entire preservation and conservation cannot be done only at the administration level; the public participation and behavioural changes have to be increased manifold to achieve the target of clean environment. And it can be achieved through mass awareness and creation of a feeling of belongingness amongst the populace”.