BY SHADAB PEERZADA
We are witnessing scarcity of oxygen on the ground especially when the Covid-19 pandemic is getting worse day by day. Probably we have realized the importance of oxygen at this level. Oxygen is as much as necessary for human life as water. Water is regarded as the cradle of life and civilization. During the early civilization in the subcontinent, the Indus valley civilization some five thousand years ago also developed around the water (Indus River and Ghaggar Hakra River) which is clear evidence of the importance of water in civilization. From the water in Great Bath in Mohenjodaro to the water in our taps, it is nearly impossible to think of life without water. Even on the moon and mars scientists on the very first searched about water (Crystals).
Kashmir is blessed with water and I guess the purest and sweetest in its form around the world, I may say this because our water originates from the glacier which is very near to us. Walter Lawrence in his praising the valley said that the soft shawls of the valley have acquired their excellence/purity because of the soft water of Dal Lake. There are almost 1230 water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir and each of them was capable of holding a civilization but when in this age of technology and the great advancement of modern science Kashmir is losing its divine water which is worshipped by Kashmiri Pandits. Today our water bodies have become a dumping site for garbage, wetlands have been occupied to build tall buildings and I am from the first generation of Kashmir who cannot drink water from the Dal Lake directly. This should be the major concern of our generation currently as the rate at which we are polluting our water bodies is so much concerning that in just a few years from here we will have to struggle for a single drop of water despite living on the banks of Jehlum and Dal lake..
The major part of this pollution comes from the garbage we dispose directly into the water bodies and a major part of that garbage is polyethene bags and plastic. We can call it our ignorance and uneducated literary rate that although we live on the banks of such river bodies and we are live directly because of it, we feel no hesitation to dump our plastic materials into it. People are as much as responsible for the pollution of rivers in Kashmir valley as the government. People feel it easy to rid of their waste disposals by throwing it into the water than actually going through the process of safe disposal. We residents have no consciousness about it and hardly have any ethical value as a society. We are so lazy to segregate our garbage and dump it according to its kind. We hardly use government machinery and municipal rules to dispose of our garbage. We never try to educate ourselves about this topic and hardly any education is given on the family level to our kids. Most important of all we never try to consider the dangerous ramifications of polluting our water bodies. Although we are living in a water bank land still many villages and cities of Kashmir are facing scarcity of drinking water and some places receive water that is not fit to drink.
As per reports, a huge garbage collection point has been created in Bagh-e-Mehtab are in Srinagar on the bank of river Doodh Ganga by the Srinagar Municipal Committee, which collects nearly 1000 kilograms of waste material on daily basis. Similar dumping sites can be easily seen on the banks of river Jehlum, Gill Sarr, Dal lake, and other water bodies around Srinagar. The sewage system is directly opened into these rivers, chemicals and detergents are destroying the aquatic life and plants. These chemicals are also making the water totally unfit for drinking purpose and irrigation. Although the government is spending millions of sums of money on cleaning these bodies success rate can be calculated below-average level. It is very evident that our government is trying to manage the problem and is not trying to correct the problem. The garbage disposal system lacks modern technology and a systematic approach and the workers are also not trained very well. I am also seeing workers on the job without safety gear and modern equipment’s which is definitely hindering their mechanism of work. The collection is also not planned very well and they are a huge gap of cooperation between the Government and locals on this subject.
In this age when modern science and technology have achieved their heights, we people and our governments have completely lost the finger to solve problems related to our environment and to preserve our water bodies. Kashmir has not a single planned town. The newly developing towns around Hyderpora, Sanat Nagar, HMT, Shelteng, Bemina, 90 Feet Road Soura are completely lacking the modern touch of planning. The government is completely ignoring the fact that without proper planning of these newly developing towns, they can never reach to grass root level facilities. It is trying to manage the problem by just clearing the lanes and streets from garbage and sewage drains but all are dumped into the rivers, there is hardly any treatment plant visible at the end of these drains while small drains are directly dumped into the river. This has not only lowered the quality of water but the bad fumes of bad smell from this stagnant water are simplified killing people. As the Government need to develop planning and modernization, we people need to develop a civic sense in ourselves.
Shadab Peerzada can be reached at [email protected]