Human beings have been bestowed by God in every sphere of life; providing them ample resources, free of cost, for their survival. Survival would have been impossible without these blessings. Since they are freely available, their importance is neglected. But we must remember, while enjoying any benefit, the responsibility becomes double fold; this, to ensure its longevity. Water, an important and prominent natural resource is pivotal for our existence. Nearly 70 per cent of the earth is made of water, such a huge percentage is present in different forms. But if we talk of drinking water resources, they are present in a very thin percentage, and the existing consumable resources are shrinking continuously, thanks to our greedy approach and lack of concern. Just to illustrate, if total water of the world is 100 litres, only one and a half teaspoonful of it is worth drinking.
The water resources in the valley have significant importance, owing to the natural habitat of aquatic lives as well as to our rich tourism industry and also providing means of income to many, at the same time adding to the beauty of the valley. But an existential threat is looming large on its head and the bigger threat is from us humans.
The wetlands, streams, canals and other kinds of portable water bodies which once were providing breathtaking views, are now confined to smaller water bodies. They have been used by the 'crown of creation' as dumping sites and dustbins. It is hard to imagine the beauty it was only ten years ago; and now, thanks to our 'brilliant efforts'! Resulting in scarcity of consumable water resources in the form of receded groundwater level and the contamination of pure water bodies. The streams, and rivers used not long ago for bathing, even drinking purposes, have turned into cesspools. We have discovered a dumping yard for all our drainages, litter, garbage and leftover.
We are globally facing a crisis of freshwater and unless we manage our water bodies in an effective and better way, we surely are going to run out. Our valley is, unfortunately, presenting a sad state of affairs. Recently various reports surfaced up in the local dailies, highlighting the state of our wetlands. Unfortunately, some have been wiped out from the ground and have become history now, while some have shrunk to a mere pool of water. Notables being Hokarsar, Gilsar, Wular, Haigam. Such examples are largely present in our valley, be it in urban areas or rural areas. Each of these wetlands is facing the same heat.
Same is the case with some historic water bodies like the Dal, Nigeen, Wular etc. The largest freshwater lake in Asia is Wular lake faces the same fate. It's dumped with carcasses of animals, tonnes polythene and garbage. Talking about Jhelum, all the main drainage pipes from South Kashmir, Srinagar, and other parts of the valley, open directly or indirectly into this river, bringing mountains of untreated sewage. People have constructed hundreds of washrooms on the banks of these important water bodies. One can imagine the damage and devastation caused by humans. For our cheap interest, we have overlooked the long term advantages of these resources.
It is time to introspect at an individual level as well as at the governmental level. By playing a blame game we won't get any desired results. The sooner we realise better it is. The repercussions are going to be severe, our future generations are certainly going to feel the heat. And then there would be no one to help us.
World fresh water reserves are depleting. Please stop misuse of water. Government agencies should take concrete measures on a priority basis in protecting the remaining part, at the same time every individual has a responsibility to act as a saviour, for himself and for others too. We have to choose between safe and eco-friendly surroundings or disease-prone surroundings.
Author is pursuing Master's in Mechanical Engineering
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.