|It's official: Pollution takes heavy toll on water bodies, crops in JK|
|Policies and laws are not harmonised with each other'|
|Minam Saqib |
Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, Aug 13: Increasing pollution has taken a heavy toll on Jammu and Kashmir's water bodies and severely affected the saffron cultivation, an official document reveals.
The document of Ecology and Environment Department reveals that there have been increasing threats from industrial pollution.
"Industrialization in J&K has mainly been driven by its mineral resource. Mining and processing activities have caused severe environmental problems. Industrial pollution, especially in the industrial estates in Jammu region has made life miserable" it reveals.
Some of these pollutants found in the environment - soil, river and air have entered the food chain resulting in increasing incidence of cancer and several health diseases, it says.
It points out that cement industry in Khrew-Khnomoh area of Kashmir have wreaked havoc, affecting saffron growth, soil contamination, air pollution, respiratory health hazards, impacts on nearby forests and wildlife.
It says that forest resources of Jammu and Kashmir are being subjected to overwhelming pressure from competing land-uses like agriculture, human settlement and development of infrastructure.
"In addition, extraction of forest products, logging, cutting trees for fuel wood and charcoal, and grazing of livestock have also contributed to the degradation of forests. These competing land uses have adverse environmental effects on long-term sustainability of forest ecosystems. The degradation of land, through soil erosion, water logging, pollution, and reduction in organic matter content has several proximate and underlying causes."
The tourism sector, as per the document, has suffered a lot particularly as a result of environmental degradation and deterioration in the quality of tourism products.
It also talks about various environmental challenges that have emerged over the years. "The problem of water pollution is very severe in our state. The river Jhelum has been converted into a drain due to the severe water pollution. Similarly in Jammu city the river Tawi has been in a pathetic situation and the entire city sewage finds its way directly into this river which has damaged the water quality of this entire river system."
It admitted policies and laws are not "harmonised" with each other and with the constitution.
These include policies and laws concerning agriculture, land, water, forests, trade and industry, which have significant implications for the environment. The sectoral rather than integrated and ecosystem approach to management of natural resources has proved inadequate in addressing environmental challenges," it reads.