3 J&K water bodies under threat from invasive species and pollution
Srinagar- Two lakes and a wetland in Jammu and Kashmir are reeling from the proliferation of invasive species and pollution threats, creating a place for danger for these water bodies and swamps.
The Wetlands of India Portal of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India said that there are two lakes and one wetland in Jammu and Kashmir which have been listed under the category threats.
The data reveals that the Hokera wetland, also known as Hokersar, is reeling from threats of encroachment, invasive species proliferation, pollution and siltation. “Potential threats include newer housing, strewn rubbish and growing demand for tourist facilities.”
An invasive species is an organism that causes ecological or economic damage in a new environment where it is not native.
Located in the northwestern Himalayas, behind the snow-capped Pir Panchal, the Hokersar wetland is only 10 kilometers from Srinagar.
Hokersar is the only site with remaining reed beds in Kashmir and is a pathway for 68 species of water birds like Great Egret, Great Crested Grebe, Little Cormorant, Common Shelduck, Tufted Duck and White-eyed Pochard on the way of extinction, coming from Siberia, China, Central Asia and Northern Europe.
Similarly, Lake Wular has also been listed under the threat category in which threats such as encroachment, alteration of hydrological regime, pollution and siltation have been mentioned.
Wular Lake is Asia’s largest freshwater lake with extensive swamps of emergent and floating vegetation, especially water chestnut which provides an important source of revenue for the state government and fodder for domestic livestock.
Located 62 kilometers from the city of Jammu, the Surinsar-Mansar lakes are also reeling from threats such as the proliferation of invasive species, pollution and siltation. “The main threats are increased visitors, agricultural runoff and bathing and cremation rituals. Conservation is all about awareness.
“The site is socially and culturally very important with many temples around due to its mythical origin from the Mahabharata period. Although the lakes are home to a variety of fish, fishing is discouraged for religious values,” reads the Wetlands of India Portal report.
One of the Wild Life Warden (WLW) Wetland said: “At Hokersar at the moment there is no threat of encroachment. The encroachment that took place in the early 1900s may be there. The area of the wetland is the same.
“Regarding pollution and siltation, this happened during the 2014 flood. We are looking at the issue of the proliferation of invasive species, this needs detailed study,” the official said.
The official also said the department was working on eliminating siltation. “We also regularly carry out solid waste management campaigns. (TO KNOW)
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