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Sewage treatment plants in Pahalgam lacking

Water bodies contaminated


Srinagar, Jul 22 (KNS): In the ecologically sensitive region of Pahalgam, the risk of contamination of local water bodies is particularly high during the peak tourist and pilgrimage seasons. With huge quantities of untreated sewage discharged in the river Lidder and garbage routinely dumped near local water bodies by municipal authorities, the situation is grim and needs to be tackled immediately. The Municipal committees and the local development authority are doing good job maintaining cleanliness in the yatra camps and en-route this year, but the condition of sewage treatment plants is still not satisfactory.
The Himalayan Welfare Organization and its president Mushtaq Pahalgami, a social activist and environmentalist from the region, have been highlighting the problem and have suggested sustained awareness creation as the only long-term solution to the problem.
Pahalgami was also part of the People Welfare Organization team, which ensured a state high court ban on construction in the region in 2010 and has also recently help enforce the 2006 high court ban on the use of polythene in the region. His sustained efforts have also helped ensure administrative answerability through the use of right to information act, but Phalagami and his organization believe that creating wider awareness through seminars and public information campaigns is what will solve the problem in the long term.
His organization, the Himalayan Welfare Organization has also recently started a campaign in favour of waste segregation at source and have repeatedly urged the media and local authorities to raise the matter of illegal sewage discharge/garbage dumping in the Shahkul canal, as part of their year old drive to save the Shahkul or Martand canal.
Any administrative efforts at ensuring environmental conservation and sustainable development in the region undeniably need to be augmented by a public awareness drive and the media, civil society, schools and colleges have an equal role and responsibility in this. (KNS)