Haigam Wetland needs quick restoration due to its terrible condition: EPG

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, Nov 28: The Environmental Policy Group (EPG) and its advisory council, the Green Citizens Council (GCC), expressed concern about the state of the Haigam Wetland in north Kashmir, a globally recognized wetland, and sought quick action to conserve it.
The spokesperson for EPG stated that they were astounded to see how damaged and destroyed this once-recognized wetland in the world was while on a day-long fact-finding trip to Haigam Wetland, Ninglee, and Wular. He claimed that on a 10-kilometer tour of Haigam Wetland, they noticed that a significant portion of it had been encroached upon and transformed into built areas, orchards, paddy fields, and playgrounds. “The wetland is filled up with silt, which has changed its characteristic from wetland to a muddy and dirty pond,” he said, adding that the Auqaf Committee Tarzoo, which has been conducting great work for the conservation of natural resources in the area, hosted and accompanied the team.
He said that the Haigam wetland has not seen many birds recently because of the wild, dense growth of grass that has rendered it uninhabitable for migratory birds. “The wetland had been receiving millions of migratory birds from Siberia, Central Asia, and China, but not a single bird was sighted, though migration season had already started,” he said.
Additionally, he claimed that hundreds of uprooted and fallen trees were laying everywhere, settling in places, and obstructing the flow of the little water that was entering the wetland. “The encroachers, in order to protect their illegally constructed houses within the demarcated area of wetland, have raised bunds, resulting in cutting off water flow into Haigam,” he said.
He claimed that the Bala Nallah, which is bringing in uncontrollably large volumes of silt and debris, is a key contributing factor to the devastation of Haigam Wetland. “The requests and proposals to authorities to stop the flow of water into the wetland have not been thought worth considering,” he said.
He claimed that because the wetland’s canals are choked, boats cannot navigate them even when only one person is seated inside. “The fish has vanished.The Nadroo, Singhada, and other productions on which the livelihood of local residents depended no longer exist,” he said.
He added that the Environmental Policy Group (EPG) is in the process of making a well-documented, research-based, comprehensive report for the consideration of authorities for initiating short and long-term measures for the restoration of this wetland.