In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

Forest in JK degrading alarmingly, ecology getting hit

File photo

Srinagar, Sep 27: Forests in Jammu and Kashmir are degrading “alarmingly”, affecting the state’s ecology, an official document states.
The document of the Forest Department says that forests are degrading alarmingly and the biodiversity base is shrinking, disrupting the “ecology seriously”.
“These lead to alarming fall in water availability in the rivers and other wetland systems and, also to landslides and heavy sedimentation of reservoirs. J&K continues to lose its biodiversity at alarming rates due to habitat destruction, overgrazing, deforestation, pollution, unsustainable harvesting of natural resources,” the document reads.
As per a recent report of Forest Survey of India, Jammu and Kashmir does not figure among the top 15 green states in India.
The government document says that climate change also poses significant environmental challenges to Jammu and Kashmir.
“It is evidenced by the frequent cloud-bursts and water shortages that affect energy supplies. This is happening at a time when energy consumption in the state is on the increase, even as utilization of renewable energy sources exclusive of hydro-electricity remains relatively low. Other adverse impacts of climate change can be seen in form of frequent and intensified natural disasters such as floods, landslides and prolonged droughts,” it reads.
There has also been an increasing threat from industrial pollution to the environment.
“Mining and processing activities have caused severe environmental problems,” it says.
There has also been a growing urbanisation, which, as per the report, impacts the urban landscapes and living environment, making it more and more un-inhabitable.
An official of Environment Department said the government has formulated a draft of what is going to be J&K’s first-ever Environmental Policy to address the environmental issues concerning the state.
“The policy addresses most of the environment concerns,” the official said.
As per the draft, the policies and laws in the state are not “harmonised” with each other and with the Constitution.
“These include policies and laws concerning agriculture, land, water, forests, trade and industry, which have significant implications for the environment. The sectoral rather than integrated and ecosystem approach to management of natural resources has proved inadequate in addressing environmental challenges,” it reads.
The draft has pointed out the objectives of the policy and said that new environmental challenges will emerge in future.
The draft says that it will help to protect and conserve critical ecological systems and natural resources, and invaluable natural and man-made heritage.