Defiled Environment in Kashmir

Kashmir Magazine

Dr Farooq Ahmad Peer

Allah has created our earth with environment as necessary equipment for the human being to live, breathe, work, love and pray. Allah says in the Holy Quran (Surah Zumar, Verse- 5) “We created the heavens and the earth in true proportions”. It is clear that Allah has created this world and the earth with a definite aim and purpose. This world is a test for a human being to achieve salvation. He (Allah) has created this world with a definite purpose and the life for a human being is not a play or an amusement. The man has a role to play and a great duty to perform. As every organ of our body has been created with a purpose, in the similar way everything on this earth has been created with a purpose. The Holy Quran draws the attention of the human beings towards everything in nature and explains Allah’s creation about the gathering of clouds, the thunder, the winds, the fall of rain, the growth of crops, plants, trees, shrubs, existence of animals, the birds, human and aquatic life. The Holy Quran also explains about the bee, ant, spider, the vastness of land, soils, mountains, oceans and winds, storms and cyclones. Further, it mentions the role of the sun, the moon, the stars in the sky etc.

We feel proud of the advances in the fields of agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, energy and industry. However, these advances have created problems of pollution, over population, development of new diseases, imbalance of natural resources, global warming and destruction of wildlife. These problems and hazards are actually the result of our materialistic interests, indifference and ignorance of the importance of environment. And while we pursue this kind of progress, our future may be dark and destructive. It is pertinent that we understand the ecological laws of nature and try to preserve our environment for our own existence and sustenance. We must use our natural resources prudently and not disturb its delicate balance and we must also realize that if we do not do the same for our environment, we are bound to face destruction of ourselves and the rich diversity of life. Our beautiful valley of Kashmir has been rich in nature and environment and have always been its source of economy. The nature and environment have been its aid and it is upon these bounties that the valley of Kashmir has sustained and survived. The people have progressed and thrived due to its rich environment, nature and its abundant resources. But it is a bitter fact that the more we have become civilized, the more we have polluted the environment and nature. We have indulged in indiscriminate plunder and devastation of our environment and we now feel that our survival is in great danger. The pollution is not only confined with environment and nature in terms of surroundings, rivers waters, trees, animals etc, but it is spread and has involved us socially, politically and morally. The pollution to our environment as a result of our own atrocities, has become a serious problem and a grave threat to the valley.

In Kashmir, we have destroyed our environment of every kind and in every way and it has brought for us many perils and hazards which are showing and will show bad results. There has been fast progress in industrialization and its consequent processes of urbanization, modernization and advancement and there is no doubt that we have been able to stabilize our economy but it has been at the cost of our nature and environment. We have changed our farms into shopping complexes and industries. We have changed the rice fields and orchards into the residential colonies without thinking about the impact which it has upon our land. We have destroyed our places of beauty and tourist resorts into places of industry. Gulmarg is a world known place for its scenic beauty and people visit this place at present and would visit in the past with enthusiasm and love. At this natural place in the name of industry and economic resource, we have set up Gondola Cable Car Lift which is now indicating its dangerous results of pollution. We may be earning a lot of money out of its adventure but the crowded gatherings and the encroachments which are around it are becoming a source of pollution. When there was no Gondola, people all over the world would visit this place but now the authorities brag that people visit Gulmarg for Gondola adventure which is not a fact because modern man is full of fret and fever and he wants a respite from the violent and turbulent .life which he can definitely find in Gulmarg. The people through Gondola take all kinds of pollutants to the natural and fascinating places of Affarwatt and Kongdoori. Moreover, more and more structures and hotels are being constructed at this natural resort. In the paradise of Kashmir, we have another natural and beautiful place called as Pahalgam. There was a time when this scenic place was abundant in forests, moors, shrubs, meadows and was rich in fresh and pure water. But it is dismaying that this place is also losing its charm due to the construction of different types of concreted structures and unnecessary establishment of amusement parks which now have begun to turn as a source of pollution at this place. Ecologists have recently warned of total extinction of a variety of rare wild animal species in Kashmir Himalayas in case the period of Amarnath Yatra is not restricted to a shorter period of time than the lengthy period of two months. According to the ecologists the continuation of natural beauty and existenceof wild animals like hangul, musk deer, brown bear, leopard, snow leopard and Ibex is in danger and extinction is also possible to the avian species like bearded vulture, golden eagle, gurkakav, koklas.

We have also destroyed the environment of our lakes particularly the Dal lake which has lost the charm which it possessed in the recent past. Hundreds of house boats and structures are around the Dal Lake and this has also become a source of pollution. Even though many structures have been removed but a lot needs to be done still in order to save the Dal Lake. The rush of traffic on the banks of Dal Lake is another source of pollution which has remained unchecked.

We witness that in Kashmir like other places in the world, traffic has grown to a large extent. There is no family in Kashmir which has not a private car with exceptions. We now see that car fumes, smoke from chimneys and factories and vehicles have given rise to pollution in our Kashmir. Enormous wastes, oils and chemicals from industries and factories go into the river Jhelum and have caused pollution in it. The waters of the Jhelum have lost its purity and it has become equal to a poison. The use of many insecticides has made our vegetables and fruits dangerous to eat. Kashmir was a cool place where the cool breezes would blow but nowadays we are in need of air purifiers and disinfectants to give us respite from the atmospheric pollution. During winter we have coldness in the atmosphere but the fragrance and freshness which it had before twenty years has been lost. This change in atmosphere is the result of the devastation of our forests which was the green gold of our land. For constructions, we smuggle and loot the wealth and sell it to earn money. We have made these green forests naked and the day is not far away when we will lose the natural beauty of our land. We have hastened our own destruction and perdition and it is sad that we are destroying our ecological balance for the so-called development. All is not lost yet, much can be saved and we can rescue our paradise in case we restrict our materialistic interests and pursuits. We have to abandon our selfishness, interests and save our land because we are the trustees of it.

The defilement to pollution is not only confined to our environment but it has affected our social, moral and political life also. It is here that we have lost the harmony and love which we had with each other in the past and we are scarcely concerned with others plights and miseries and it is sad that our social values have perished and it seems impossible to regain those. At the moral level we are heading towards degradation and moral sterility. Our land was a land of peers, rishies and spiritual and moral environment was prevalent in it but due to our materialistic interests and quest for self, we are now deprived of these virtues.
It is our duty that each one of us should be concerned with the environment not only in the areas of air, water, land, trees, plants, animals, birds and natural resources but also in political, social and moral areas which constitute the totality of our life and surroundings. Our survival, in fact depends upon the manner in which the environmental problems are handled and in case we continue with the sully environment, it is sure to result and bring all kinds of fouls to our life and existence. It is important that we keep environment as the topmost priority and avoid the havoc which we have created on our land so far. We should save our beautiful land from any more environmental deterioration so that our future is graceful and dignified.