Environmental pollution is defined as “the contamination of the physical and biological components of the earth/atmosphere system to such an extent that normal environmental processes are adversely affected. Environmental pollution is increasing gradually and causing a serious impact on living organisms including humans. Environmental pollution is unwarranted disposal of mass or energy into earth’s natural resource pool such as water, land, or air that results in long- or short-term detriment to the atmosphere and its ecological health to negatively impact the living beings and their life both quantitatively and qualitatively .Environmental pollution reflects a measurement of contamination of the living and nonliving (physical and biological) constituents of the earth, in a manner and to an extent, to adversely affect the normal optimum environmental processes The pollutants may yield primary or secondary damages, of which the primary damage can be quantified and its impact monitored. The secondary damage, on the other hand, occurs as a marginal disturbance to the delicately poised biological food web pyramid balance and can be noticed only over prolonged durations. Kashmir has acquired much fame for its natural beauty because of the breath-taking splendor of its mountains, glaciers, meadows, lush valleys and water bodies. Kashmir is termed as paradise on earth as is said: “If there is paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.” Ever since, this lyrical outburst has served better to eulogize Kashmir’s ecological wealth. Over the years, Kashmir’s meadows, lush valleys and water bodies have charmed millions of tourists.
Environmental degradation in this beautiful place is mostly a result of human activities such as deforestation, vehicular pollution, and industrialization, which has led to environmental pollution and loss of biodiversity. Educating the masses about the importance of protecting the environment is an effective way to restore the ecological balance.
1. In recent years, there has been a drastic reduction in the forest cover inJammu and Kashmir. Deforestation has caused soil erosion and floods, further damaging forest resources.
2. Jammu and Kashmir has several lakes and streams. The disposal of human and animal waste in these water bodies has obstructed their flow and degraded water quality. The water-holding capacity of the lakes in Kashmir is reducing. Depleting water sources will lead to water shortage and also affect the generation of hydroelectricity.
3. The infrastructural and industrial growth in Kashmir has boosted its economy but resulted in air pollution. Burning of stubble in the harvesting season degrades air quality and throwing of wastes in open spaces further pollutes the air. Brick kilns in many districts of J&K are adding to air pollution.
4. Due to habitat destruction and animal poaching, many animal species in Jammu and Kashmir are facing the threat of extinction. Cutting of trees and depletion of the forest cover is threatening the existence of some plant species.
5. It has been witnessed that good portion of people who visit the health resorts throw wastes and wrappers in open. Even wastes are disposed in water bodies. This inturn becomes the cause that all these places are losing charm.
Jammu and Kashmir is a popular tourist destination and the tourism has led to the economic growth of this state. It is therefore necessary to take care of all the tourist destination and conserve them. If natives and tourists act responsibly towards the environment and strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection, Jammu and Kashmir will stay beautiful, befitting its nickname, Paradise on Earth.
( The author is a teacher at Govt. Higher Secondary School Damhall Anantnag. Views are his own)