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ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION AND DAL - LAKE BY YAQEEN UL HAQ AHMAD SIKANDER

Environment comprises of Land, Water and Air. This term is used for immediate surroundings in which living things grow. Plants, Human beings and animals are all living things. They behave in a particular way in different situations. Animals and plants live with greater integrity and care about their environment much more than the human beings. Humans are constantly altering their environment to precisely suit their way of living. They do not care about what they are doing to plants and animals by their behaviour. The destruction of the world's tropical rain forests to create farms or grazing land for cattle, have led to altered climate patterns. The problems facing the environment are vast and diverse. Rapid Industrialization results in the deterioration of the quality of air. This is happening in almost all urban areas throughout the world. In short, the Industrial revolution and modern civilization turn the air we breathe into a waste basket of dust, mist, odour, toxic gases and smoke. The air pollution affects the human health greatly. Prevention of air pollution is not as simple as explained in words. However much of the pollution could be prevented without undue cost by careful planning and setting of Industries, better design equipment and better operation of the equipment. There are three major means of controlling the air pollution:1) Fuel selection and utilization: Only those fuels should be used which produce less pollution and these should also be used judiciously. Alternative sources of energy should be used to prevent air pollution. 2) Process changes or equipment: This can be broadly classified into two categories: i) Control of aerosol emissions: Emission of aerosol sprays must be controlled as far as possible. More and more new equipments have been designed at present to control aerosol emissions. ii) Control of gaseous pollutants: Those gases that pollute the air must be checked and controlled. The harmful gases coming out from vehicles must be checked. 3) Site selection and zoning: The site selection is the process of locating a single industrial plant. Site selection results in production of a single source of pollution as compared to numerous emission sources. Zoning is a control measure based upon the knowledge of mechanics of the atmosphere which acts as the transfer medium.

Now water pollution is another serious problem because sewage and industrial effluents are being disposed into the water bodies. This is a serious tragedy of mankind. Water pollution nowadays is considered not only in terms of public health but also in terms of conservation, aesthetics and preservation of natural beauty and resources. Industrial effluents when discharged through the sewage system poison the biological purification mechanisms of sewage treatment and these sewages on subsequent discharge result in pollution of rivers. Waste from agricultural practices such as insecticides and pesticides cause more water pollution. The prevention of water pollution has been discussed at the end. Soil Pollution, often termed as the "third pollution" is definitely a serious problem equal in magnitude to that of air and water pollution. About 90% of the pollution of the soil is caused by solid wastes. Land is polluted largely by solid wastes from homes, farms and industries. Hence control measures primarily include disposal of solid wastes which is not easy since the economy involved is very high. To make the disposal of wastes economical, recycling of material is necessary. Disposal of wastes maybe studied under three heads: 1) Collection of Wastes: 80% of the total cost of the solid waste management is spent for collection only. To save time and money, transfer stations must be constructed at various points in a city. Another possible way is the use of pneumatic pipes. 2) Recycling of Wastes: Recycling is the most desirable means of solid waste management in future. Recycling has two advantages: i) Conservation of existing natural resources ii) And sufficient reduction in the volume of the refuse to be disposed. 3) Disposal of Wastes: Dumping is also a popular and inexpensive means of solid waste disposal. However, there are many disadvantages of dumping and other means have to be sought out. Incineration is a solution for solving the solid waste problem. But the cost of operations is high and moreover incineration creates air problems. Prolysis (combustion in the absence of oxygen) is also an acceptable means of disposal. In spite of it all, no cheap and efficient method has been found yet for the disposal of the solid wastes. Now when we talk about our own state of Kashmir, we hear but not see the real paradise on earth. In the recent past, Kashmir was really a paradise on earth, green grass like velvet was everywhere, clean water lakes and streams, and gardens full of flowers. Smell of different flowers really made a pleasant sense. Mughal gardens play a vital role in the beauty of the Kashmir valley. Dal Lake is the main source of beauty in the heart of the city. It was once a very clear and a much bigger and pure water source. So many house boats are there to pay comfortable attention to the visitors. On one side of the Dal, so many hotels have been built. Their waste of kitchens and bathrooms is sometimes directly thrown into the Dal Lake.

House boats too add so many types of wastes to this lake. As a result of this waste, the Dal Lake has been severely polluted and much of the algae and fungi have grown on it. Encroachment of Dal Lake in the form of small and big residential places on the banks of the Dal has really diminished its size. In spite of the efforts of the government and the NGO's people hardly care about the beauty and important of this prime lake. We people have to take every step to ensure the safety of the Dal Lake. The drainage and sewage of the nearby houses and hotels must not be diverted to Dal Lake. People living in the houses on the banks of the Dal Lake should be rehabilitated and the banks should be cleared and developed. Laws should be passed to punish those who are found guilty of polluting the Dal Lake by any means. The drainage system of the house boats should be of the modern type i.e. having a tank along the boat, along with a modern system of cleaning this tank frequently. Environmentalists from all over the country must be consulted for this cause. And this important cause at any cost must not be neglected. People must also take active part in this process by joining hands and cooperating with the government and other eco-friendly organisations. If we take these simple measures to save Dal Lake, then only our future generation will be able to view its beauty or Dal Lake will become just an another history. Its only the beauty of the Dal Lake that attracts tourists from all over the world to enjoy it but if we dont preserve this asset then it will soon come to extinction. So to conclude, I have so far discussed briefly about the air, water and land pollution and their prevention. And these elements i.e. Air, Water and Soil together constitute the environment. In order to save the environment, we must prevent the pollution of air, water and land. The steps that I have discussed above to prevent the pollution must be implemented in order to save the environment.
(The Author can be reached at www.yaqeenulhaq.info or can be mailed at yaqeen@ymail.com)