'Srinagar has lost greenery, needs plantation'

Noted landscape architect Prof Jan Haenraets expressed concern over loss of green cover in Srinagar called for undertaking plantation drives in the summer capital.

“Srinagar city has lost green cover including huge trees. It has also witnessed huge constructions disturbing natural balance, Prof Haenraets said speaking during a workshop of urban issues organized by the Kashmir Press Club here.

Haenraets is also a conservation specialist Prof in the Preservation Studies Program at Boston University and Director of Atelier Anonymous, a consultancy team in landscapes and public space. Besides he is co-founder of the Atelier Anonymous Global Landscape Foundation.

“Srinagar has also lost Chinar tress at rapid race. The city has lost greenery, pure air, horticulture, agriculture, Karewas and clean water,” he said while displaying some pictures of Srinagar city on the proctor.

He said due to human intervention, the city has lost natural balance. ” At huge area of Lal Chowk, there are no trees. The natural balance has gone now. Imagine the future of this city,” he said.

He said socio-cultural and environmental issues have to be looked into and it is high time to educate people about the issues. “Educational policy should include noise pollution, landscape, architecture and plantation of trees,” he said.

He stressed that more plantation drives must take place and people should voluntarily promote and take part in these campaigns. “Save the trees, save Karewas. Can’t we use silt of Dal Lake and Wullar for filling rather than extracting soil from Karewas?” he said.

He expressed concern over garbage and silt entering into water bodies.  “Drainage in Srinagar is facing huge pressures.”

The work of Prof Jan ranges from creative design and environmental art to heritage management, and cultural landscape advice.

He was a Fellow in Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University, and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was Head of Gardens and Designed Landscapes of the National Trust for Scotland and is a member of the DOCOMOMO International Specialist Committee on Urbanism and Landscape.