Dal Lake authorities take pollution control measures

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Srinagar, Sep. 28 (ANI): Authorities have installed trash bins surrounding the Dal Lake in order to control pollution.

A voluntary organisation named, the Care Kashmir International (CKI) installed the bins in collaboration with Lake and Water Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA).

"The idea here is people do not throw the stuff on the lake or the street or lane because they do not have any facilities to throw this garbage anywhere and we are hoping that they will be in a habit and we are passing this flier to the boatmen, houseboat people, to the shops, to the hotels so that they all participate in taking care of the this facility and use the facility," said Bashir Ahmad, CKI executive director.

Raw sewage, land encroachment and years of neglect have been threatening the survival of the lake where visitors from Mughal emperors to George Harrison once enjoyed the idyllic stillness of its waters surrounded by Himalayan mountains.

Environmentalists say thousands of tonnes of sewage spew into the lake, feeding weeds and choking the lake and its aquatic life, of oxygen.

Locals though appreciate the initiative said it should have been done 25 years ago.

"What people are doing today should have been done 25 years ago but nevertheless we welcome the decision," Abdul Aziz, a boatman.

The lake's size has been halved in a few decades, to some 13 square km, due to land encroachment.

A study in 2007 by the state's Comptroller and Auditor General reported that the lake has excessively high levels of toxic metals due to sewage. Pollutants were accumulating in the fish and water, which was consumed by humans.

Tests of water samples showed arsenic levels were almost 1,000 times above permissible levels.

Environmentalists and officials are pressing the hundreds of houseboats on the lake, many catering to tourists, to stop dumping waste into the lake. (ANI)

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