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Iconic lake once known for its crystal-clear waters is on the verge of extinction: ‘The damage done … cannot be compensated’

“It is the responsibility of the Government and people to join hands to restore its glory.”

"It is the responsibility of the Government and people to join hands to restore its glory."

Photo Credit: iStock

Anchar Lake, located in the Kashmir region, is on the verge of disappearing entirely, despite calls for action from environmentalists that have been going unheeded for more than a decade. 

What is happening?

Once a major tourist destination, Anchar Lake has fallen victim to the same forces that have negatively impacted so many bodies of water and parts of nature throughout the world — pollution, overdevelopment, and governments that prioritize protecting profits over the environment.

“The lake was once a beautiful tourist attraction, but over the past many years, it has turned into a polluted wasteland,” one nearby resident told Rising Kashmir. 

Why is this concerning?

A century ago, the lake encompassed 7.5 square miles. Today, it has been reduced to 2.6 square miles, with more than half of that area comprised of marshland. Contributing factors include unregulated development around the area that has pushed silt and sediment into the lake.

Improper sewage and drainage systems have filtered waste into the lake, making its waters toxic and inhospitable to the bird and fish species that once thrived there.

“The lake is under tremendous anthropogenic pressures, which have resulted in deterioration of its water quality. The entire liquid and solid wastes generated on the peripheral areas situated at higher contours where people live find its way into the lake. Even the agricultural waste of the above area is disposed of in it,” Ajaz Rasool, an environmentalist and hydraulic engineer, told Greater Kashmir.

What is being done about it?

Greater Kashmir laid out several steps that need to be taken to ensure that Anchar Lake does not become extinct, which would be devastating for local wildlife that has already seen its habitat harmed dramatically.

These steps include officially making the conservation of the lake the responsibility of the Lake Conservation and Management Authority, erecting fences around the area to prevent further development and encroachment, plugging drains that filter waste into the lake, and rebuilding the sewage system.

“It is the responsibility of the Government and people to join hands to restore the glory of Anchar, as both are responsible for its deterioration. Damage done to the environment is irreparable and cannot be compensated in any form,” the piece concluded.

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