Conservation of dal lake

Prelims level : Environment Mains level :
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Alarmed over the rapid shrinking of the Dal Lake.

Diminishing Dal lake:

  • The size of the Dal Lake had come down from 22 to about 10 due to the water quality of the lake which deteriorated because of intense pollution caused by untreated sewage and solid waste released into the water body.
  • Pollution is sometimes so bad it turns the lake a brackish green due to sewage from the more than 1,000 houseboats and waste from hotels and homes on shore gets empty into the lake.
  • Encroachments of water channels and clogging have diminished the circulation and inflows into the lake, leading to the extensive growth of hyacinth.
  • Floating vegetable gardens on reed rafts, some of Kashmir’s biggest vegetable-producing areas, are also major polluters. Pesticides used by farmers find their way into the lake, causing colossal damage to its fauna and flora.
  • The garbage dumped into the lake increases the density of weeds and water plants resulting in poor visibility of the lake’s bed.

Suggestions to restore the lake:

    • Jammu and Kashmir Governor approached Navy chief seeking help to save the water body, a major tourist attraction of the following steps can be taken
  • Catchment area treatment of Dal lake includes Afforestation, construction of check dams and bunds.
  • Construction of Settling Basins at the mouth of Telbal Nallah with permanent intake structures cum navigational locks to arrest the incoming silt load.
  • Marginal dredging along the shoreline for a width of 75 to 90 metres in order to remove the land mass and shoal formation.
  • Removal of excessive population within the lake and allowing restricted population to remain in hamlets as a part of lake eco-system
  • Effective enactment of laws for encroachments, conservations of open water bodies with floating gardens, land masses.
  • Devising method for houseboats sanitation through floating septic tank with proper solid-waste management through NGOs and eco-activists.

Dal lake geography:

  • Dalis a fresh water lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The urban lake, which is the second largest in the state, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”.
  • The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.
  • The ecosystem of Dal is ecologically rich in macrophytes, submerged macrophytes, floating macrophytes and phytoplankton.
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