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Environment Focus — Environmental degradation, shrinking

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 16, 2009

kashmir-global-network : Message: [kashnet] Environment Focus — Environmental degradation, shrinking Mansar, Saruinsar lakes mar surrounding beauty

Environment Focus
Environmental degradation, shrinking Mansar, Saruinsar lakes mar surrounding

By Gopal Sharma

The shrinking lakes of Jammu region at the hill resorts of
Saruinsar and Mansar in the Shivalik belt on North-East of
Jammu and the unchecked felling of trees has become a major
environmental threat. It appears that if the due attention was not
given to protect these large beautiful waterbodies by the
concerned government agencies and the people of the area,
these lakes will vanish in the coming decades.

The forests which are the prime source of natural waterbodies
on the earth, play a key-role in recycling of water in nature. When
forests disappear, our water-sources disappear, large
hydro-electric powers fail and shortage & famine of water
prevails. These are infact, considered as our great heritage of
remote past. So, it becomes the responsibility of the coming
generations to preserve this thousands year old heritage.

According to a great European Ecologist Mr E F Schmancher,
of the total world land surface only 8-10 % is at present under
food production. With the aid of trees at least three quarters of
land surface could supply human fuel, shelter and other
by-products. Wildlife could be conserved and pollution
decreased and beauty of many landscapes enhanced. This is
the way or at least of the ways to our spiritual, moral and cultural

It must be realised that effective protection of sanctuaries, parks
and reserves will, in the last resort, be possible only if the
mounting pressure of human and cattle population is kept under
control and true management of land, water forests is improved.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the wealth of Himalayas and
other forests of India is gradually disappearing in the Bay of
Bengal and the Arab Sagar. With the mass scale felling of trees
we are losing our soil to the seas. It is feared that by the end of
this century India will have not forests.

About 65 kms from Jammu is the beautiful tourist resort
-Mansar lake. Hardly at a distance of 10 kms from Mansar is
another large waterbody, namely-Saruinsar lake. The
surrounding hills, which were ever lush green with thick forests,
are now turning barren with no proper check on the felling of
trees despite setting up of special Forest Protection Force for
the purpose.

With the disappearance of vegetation from the mountains in this
belt, the problem of landslides on Samba- Mansar road has also
increased. But with the vanising of greenery and the beautiful
forest cover around the lake, its beautification is diminishing
gradually. No doubt, the department of Tourism, Soil
Conservation and Environment and Remote Sensing have made
some efforts to conserve the lake and add some artificial beauty
in the surroundings but a lot more is yet to be required to be
done to protect the surrounding scenic beauty and to save the
lake water from pollution. The growing of unwanted weeds and
process of throwing waste material by the locals in the lake and
its surrounding is also polluting the lake water. This has also
posed a threat to the living bodies in the lake. The flowing of
kitchen , drain waters and washing of clothes in the lake are the
major factors to pollute the fresh lake water. The level of soil
erosion has also increased as the trees and plants are being
felled unchecked. The eroded soil is flowing down to the lakes
during rains, shrinking them slowly. Though this slow change is
not observed openly by the people of the area but it has been
revealed by the elderly people of there that the lake is losing
charm, scenic beauty and has shrinked in size.

A senior officer in the Tourism department when contacted said
that Department has done a lot to promote tourism potential at
Mansar. He admitted that not much efforts were utilised to
develop Saruinsar lake but at Mansar, huge funds have been
spent for the beautification works. He said that besides setting
up of Tourist Bungalow, a large beautiful Park at the bank has
also been developed. He stressed the need for the cooperation
from the local public for not polluting the lake water. Weeds have
also been removed several times.


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