Dear Editor, Plastic pollution is a global issue and no single country can solve it alone. A visit to Dal Lake is very enchanting experience, simmering lake waters with reflections of standing conifers is no less than a magic ,wild roses with fragrant snow white flowers adds to charm and happiness of the tourists. From a distance, it gives a magnificence look but on closer look, one can notice its poor state of cleanliness. Plastic bottles, chips wrappers and polythene bags littered around the lake and fishes found in the water can be seen scavenging the dangerous plastic material. However, noticing all this, the state pollution control board so far has not taken cognizance to initiate corrective measures to prevent the lake from turning into a chemical disaster. Pristine ecology much changed, anthropogenic pressures need strict regulations by the designated authorities. Recently State government issued an order banning single use plastic containers including mineral water bottles, plastics glasses, Styrofoam cups, bowls, Plastic bags, containers made in polystyrene foam and plastic straws, Single use plastic ban need strict enforcement at such tourist places. According to Prof Shakeel Rhomsoo of University of Kashmir, untreated sewerage has destroyed the lake more than anything else. Numerous researches reveals that 1,200 house boats alone dump about 9,000 metric tonnes of waste into the lake each year. 15 major drains empty into the lake, bringing along 18.2 tonnes of phosphorous and 25 tonnes of inorganic nitrogen nutrients. Besides nitrates and phosphates, about 80,000 tonnes of silt get deposited in the lake every year. The colour of the lake’s water has changed from bluish green to hazel due to higher turbidity; this has reduced the lake’s aesthetic appeal and resulted in fewer visits by tourists. The water is unfit for drinking and aquatic life is also under threat owing to depletion of dissolved oxygen. But still usage of plastic water bottles , styrofoam cup, plates by the shopkeepers and vendors going on unabated and call for urgent action. Plastic usage need to be phased out in the interest of quality environment. The common masses, tourists and visitors must keep surroundings clean. Moreover, authorities are also requested to regulate enforcement of laws & regulations without any relaxation, exemption for ensuring purity of environment. Samvedna Sharma, Via-e-mail.
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