Eight years on: Policy to combat air pollution, soil contamination fails to take off
Srinagar, Dec 5:
Eight years on, Jammu and Kashmir’s maiden Environment Policy to combat air
pollution and soil contamination is yet to take off in the new Union Territory.
Framed in 2012,
the Environment Policy was aimed at addressing environmental concerns. It was
put in public domain in August 2018 when government sought suggestions from
different stake holders including civil society groups. Since then it has been
confined to papers.
An official of
Forest Department said implementation of maiden Environment Policy is yet to
see the light of the day.
“There is a dire
need for effective Environment Policy as Jammu and Kashmir is vulnerable to
natural disasters,” he said.
eco-fragile zone, Jammu and Kashmir is confronted with environmental challenges
due to unplanned urbanization, deforestation and encroachments on water bodies.
The official said
Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed huge loss to the environment in the absence of
Environment Policy has recommended measures to protect and conserve critical
ecological systems and improving the quality of life through sustainable
management and use of natural resources. No measures have been taken so far to
put these things into practice,” he said.
Policy has put emphasis on protection of wetlands, forests and rivers of Jammu
and Kashmir. It also underscores the need for putting an end to alarming air
pollution and soil contamination.
“The problem of
water pollution is very severe in Jammu and Kashmir. River Jehlum has been
converted into a drain due to severe water pollution. Effluents from all the
major towns find its way directly into this river which has severely damaged
the water quality,” the draft reads.
and Environment Manoj Kumar Dwivedi admitted that degradation of environment
was a major concern in J&K.
taking all necessary measures for its protection. We are also working on
effective implementation of Environment Policy in Jammu and Kashmir,” Dwivedi
and Environment, however, said it was everyone’s responsibility to protect the
environment. “Government needs support of people especially from civil society
groups for preservation of environment,” he added.
Pollution Control Board Rafi Ahmed said Environment Policy has not been
“The policy is
basically an offshoot of environment act, 1986. Under the policy, the
government had ordered to form district environment protection committees,
which were supposed to conduct two meetings each month,” he said.
Ahmad said unfortunately, the implementation
of the policy has been impeded due to various reasons. The lack of internet
access at present, for example, is a major problem.
Pollution Control Board, 73 percent of the 201 million liters of sewage
generate in the city daily goes untreated into Dal Lake or Jhelum. Similarly,
shrinking of glaciers is another major environment issue in Kashmir which
threatens to reduce the discharge in rivers.
There has also
been increase in air pollution levels in the valley. National Green Tribunal
has directed J&K government to prepare action plans to bring the air
quality standard within the prescribed limit.