Wular dredging project: Ecological concerns rise over waste dumping on opposite shore
Bandipora, Dec 09 (KNO): The ongoing dredging project aimed at restoring Asia’s largest freshwater lake, Wular Lake, in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, has given rise to ecological apprehensions. The chosen dumping site on the opposite shore along the Bandipora-Srinagar road has transformed into an expansive area for waste disposal, which is jeopardising the lake’s ecosystem.
Funded through the UT administration’s Wular Action Plan with a budget exceeding Rs 200 crore, the Wular dredging initiative is aimed at removing 63 lakh cubic meters of silt, to enhance the lake’s carrying capacity. However, over recent months, local residents have been contributing to the degradation of the opposite shore by dumping domestic waste, and this has given rise to a significant ecological threat.
Expressing their concerns, locals who spoke to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said the area has turned into a full-fledged dumping site. They said some people gather garbage from various parts of the town and dispose of it during the night or early morning.
The once crystal-clear water source, used for drinking and other essential tasks, is now highly contaminated, they lamented.
The situation has been worsening between Nadihal and Gund Dechina, where extensive dumping of garbage, polythene bags, animal carcasses, empty gunny bags and various other waste materials is seen in spots that were once pristine, said Mohammad Ayoob, a local resident.
He lamented the deteriorating condition of the site and recalled the time when it was clean. “We used to row our boats towards Wular Lake from this spot some years ago when it was completely clean. However, during the last few years, it got polluted to much extent. We fail to understand why people are using it as a dumping spot,” he said, adding, “People are loading domestic waste into their vehicles and disposing of it even during the evening hours.”
Ayoob said the issue was reported to authorities last year, and a temporary action was taken, and the problem resurfaced.
Manzoor Ahmad, another local, appealed for responsible waste disposal. “People should reconsider before dumping garbage here. Despite our constant efforts to keep this place clean, it is challenging to fight against people’s actions. The administration should take legal action against those responsible,” he said.
An official told KNO that the practice was stopped promptly after administrative intervention. “However, if the problem persists, strict measures will be implemented against those contributing to the environmental degradation,” he warned—(KNO)