Srinagar, Mar 10: The river Jhelum has been turned into a waste dump with people frequently throwing the garbage into it at various places.
As per sources, the shopkeepers and vendors at different places are openly dumping their garbage into the banks of Jhelum, exposing government’s tall claims of stringent policy to keep valley clean.
“The authorities have failed to protect the water bodies from getting polluted from waste products thrown into the banks of river Jehlum either by the people or by the shopkeepers,” a local Faizan Ahmad of saffron town Pampore said.
Ahmad said aquatic life is at risk owing to water pollution by accumulation of garbage at the river banks. “Lethargic approach of government is directly responsible for not taking this issue seriously,” he said.
Behind valley’s lone tertiary maternity hospital Lala-Ded hospital, there is an open outlet through which liquid waste and other filth flows into Jhelum while as at Amira Kadal the vendors and shopkeepers throw the waste into the Jhelum.
The officials at the helm of affairs also acknowledged that the river is in “poor condition” and a large part of it has been encroached and polluted.
To save river Jhelum and kept it safe from human interference, an official from Geology and Mining department suggested that there is a need to restore the catchment areas of the river and go for the “scientific dredging of sand and soil from the river.”
“The ruthless extraction of sand and soil has affected the river. There should be a proper plan for the stabilization of the river. The river is our lifeline and is used for irrigation purposes for horticulture and agriculture and is important for tourism flow,” he said.
A Tehsildar posted in south Kashmir told Kashmir News Trust that polythene flow was a serious issue that poses threat to the river.
“Department is routinely conducting drives. On the other hand urbanisation is increasing and garbage disposal has become an issue. Now we have used some cluster approach to deal with it,” said tehsildar who did not wish to be named.
Environmental experts said that the catchment areas of the river should not be disturbed and construction should be prohibited to avoid any human interference. “The dredging of Jhelum is important. Other than beautifying some part of its embankments in Srinagar city, the administration has mostly failed to save Jhelum from encroachments, pollutants and other solid waste,” he said.
From Sangam to Pantha chowk the river flows through residential areas of villages and towns and at several places it is seen that the liquid waste and other filth is flowing into the river.
The Government in its recent Economic Survey Report has also expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of river Jhelum. The rivers and ground waters as per report are continuously polluted by untreated effluents and sewerage.
In 2019, the high court also directed the divisional commissioner Kashmir to ensure that no solid waste is dumped in river Jhelum. The court directed the divisional commissioner to file by next date of hearing a compliance report attesting no solid waste is dumped into the river, from its source up to Baramulla.