Popularly known as ” Srinagar’s Jewel” or “Lake of flowers” the Dal lake of Jammu & Kashmir has been a tourist hotspot for several years. With snow-capped mountains and lush green coniferous trees in its backdrop, it truly creates a magical scenery. The lake is traversed through long wooden boats known as ‘Shikharas’ which pass through the floating flower and vegetable market.
‘All that glitters is not gold’. Staying true to this saying the Dal lake might be scenically mesmerizing but the rise in pollution there is shocking. The lake used to cover an area of 75 square kilometers but in the last two decades shrunk to 12 square kilometers . Numbers from the Dal Lake pollution statistics look dangerous as the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LWDA) estimates that 80,00 tonnes of silt ,31,000 kg of nitrates and 4,000 kg of phosphates are dumped into the lake.
Untreated sewage is also a culprit in the overall degradation. The government has failed to upgrade the STP’s in that region which compels people to direct sewage into the water body. Due to an escalation in sewage discharge, wild weeds have started to grow in the lake contaminating it further and harming aquatic life. Since the lake is also one of the sources of potable water, locals fall prey to diseases like- typhoid, gastroenteritis, etc.
In the year 1997, 500 crore was directed towards the “Save Dal Project” by the state and union government but after 2-3 years, the project hardly made any progress. The government authorities took no accountability for the same. Similarly, several other projects were assigned to the state government like- developing STP’s, de-weeding the lake but all of them faced the same fate.
The Dal lake is choking in effluents and hazardous material. The government and citizens have to take some serious steps to revive it. Locals have to be educated, STP’s have to be developed and awareness has to be spread for protecting the pride of Kashmir.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi.
–Written by Vedha P