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How Kashmir’s Residents Are Leading the Fight Against Plastic Pollution in Water Bodies

Updated: Jan 20


Fight Against Plastic Pollution

Fight Against Plastic Pollution:

The issue of municipal waste management in Kashmir appears to be the least of the worries for the administration. And despite having a municipal corporation, the state of waste treatment management in Srinagar is dismal. But there's hope.


Srinagar: Nestled between two mountain ranges – the Himalayas from the north-eastern side and the Pir Panjal range from the south-western side – the Kashmir valley receives an abundant supply of freshwater from the glaciers of these ranges.


Residents of the Indian-administered region use the water from the streams and rivers for their daily needs, irrigation and for generating electricity.


However, there has been a significant rise in the production of plastic waste in these water bodies, owing to development in the region and neglect of the administration due to its focus on the region’s security.


But the issue of municipal waste management appears to be the least of the worries for the administration.


Despite having a municipal corporation, the state of waste treatment management in Srinagar is dismal.


Additionally, Kashmir’s rural areas don’t have any waste collection or management facilities. So people find it easier to dump waste into the streams and rivers. The lack of any municipal vehicles for garbage collection has also worsened the situation.


But there is hope.


Awareness, cleanup drives


Some volunteers, students, concerned citizens and environmentalists have taken it upon themselves to rid Kashmir of its plastic problem. They were motivated by the alarming waste pile-up in the water bodies, and the apathy of the government and the local population towards the situation.


For instance, volunteers and environmentalists have contributed to making a wetland in South Kashmir’s Pampore town “solid waste-free”.


Environment lawyer and activist Nadeem Qadri, who hails from Pampore, told The Wire that he, along with his team, contributed to making the Chatlam reserve solid waste-free.


There are several other wetlands in Pampore such as Fashkoori, Manibugh and Krenchoo. These wetlands support tens of thousands of birds, making the region a major attraction for tourists and birdwatchers.


When asked how he did it, Qadri said that he, with the help of his team of local volunteers, educated the people of Chatlam about the harmful effects of plastic pollution in water bodies. They also educated the locals about the benefits of waste segregation and disposal.


He told The Wire that the youngsters living close to the wetlands also actively participated in clearing the water bodies of solid waste and safely disposing of the trash.


“It’s great to see the local youth take ownership of the environmental conservation efforts,” he added.


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