This refers to article “Wetlands and Climate change” by Bilal Bashir Bhat (Daily Excelsior 11.02.2020). The author has very rightly said that wetlands once widely considered as unproductive wastelands full of disease and danger are now considered the planet’s most productive ecosystems, supporting biodiversity. I have been trying my best to convey this message to authorities at the helm, but no steps are taken to conserve and protect Kashmir’s wetlands which are under serious threat.
Wullar and Hokersar wetlands which are Ramsar sites are on the verge of destruction as these sites are being used as garbage dumping site by none other than the municipal institutions themselves. I have taken up this issue with National Green Tribunal (NGT) New Delhi last year who have intervened and a detailed report has been filed by J&K Wildlife Protection Department before NGT few months back .
Municipal Committee Bandipora has lied before the NGT through a written communication that municipal solid waste is no-more dumped near the Wullarlake at Zalwan village in Bandipora, while as the reality is that this illegal activity still continues. The Hokersar wetland has also become a dump-yard for municipal solid waste and authorities are unmoved.
Last year Wildlife Department took up a cleanliness drive after NGT’s notice, but this has to be a continuous process. Government must allocate funds under Swach Bharat Mission (SBM) to Wildlife Department or Lake management authorities like WUCMA or LAAWDA etc for managing solid and liquid waste around Wetlands and lakes in Jammu & Kashmir. If this is not possible then Rural Development Department / Rural Sanitation Department or Municipal bodies should take up the work themselves.
Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat
Chairman J&K RTI Movement