Weed growth over Dal Lake, the flagship of Kashmir’s tourism, is quite visible. What is missing though is tangible action against it. In other words, the weed growth is a pointer to the deteriorating health of an already stressed water body and also raises questions over the conservation efforts.
The Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), entrusted to protect and upkeep the water body, is under directions by the J&K High Court to, among others, remove weeds.
The court has asked the LAWDA to concentrate on the deweeding, dredging and stopping of flow of all drains and waste effluents into the Dal Lake.
Besides, the court has asked the authority to take “effective steps” to ensure that there is no encroachment in and around Dal Lake and also that all unauthorized constructions are removed as soon as possible.
The LAWDA, the court suggested, may arrange either bio-degradable tanks or floating sewage tanks for each houseboat.
There is an inlet or other sources through which the lake receives water throughout the year. It provides the lake with clean water and helps in the outflow and overflow the waste or excess water. As has been pointed out by the court, it is necessary to maintain these water sources in proper condition and to remove all obstacles.
The untreated sewage from nearly half the Srinagar population as also many houseboats also continues to flow into the lake. As per experts, the weed growth, fish loss, declining water quality etc can only be arrested if sewage flow is halted or treated properly.
The alga and other unwanted plant growth not only detracts from the Lake’s aesthetic appeal, is also alarming on various fronts as regards overall wellbeing of the water body.
As its growth is associated with the ever-growing load of the effluents into the water body and improper de-weeding weeds¸ there is immediate need for the LAWDA to redouble its efforts to bring back the lustre of the Lake waters. While some experts’ underline that the weeds contain nutrients in their roots and once cut, the nutrients release directly into the water which leads to the growth of algae, the authorities need to address the issue also.
Over the years, the conservation efforts have witnessed simultaneous progress and reversal as well as inordinate delays in execution. There is a need to take all the requisite measures to restore the ecosystem of the Lake and preserve its unique biodiversity.