Umaiser Gul Ganai
Qazigund, Dec 28: Regional Director for Kashmir, J&K Pollution Control Board Rafi Ahmed Bhat Wednesday said that urbanization, shrinking of green spaces and industries working in violation of set norms are major contributors to the growing pollution in the Valley. He was quick to add that in winters, pollution levels show a bit rise.
Talking to reporters at Industrial Estate, Vessu, Qazigund here, Bhat said that they have planted a series of trees and distributed many under green energy concept. “I am glad to see huge enthusiasm among the locals who took trees to plant them in homes,” he said.
He said that in Kashmir, there is a large-scale human intervention with the existing green space. “Urbanization, shrinking of green spaces and industries working in violation of set norms are largely contributing to the growing pollution in Kashmir,” the Regional Director PCB said. He said that even though global warming was a reality but at the same time due to large scale human interventions, green spaces have shrunk to a great extent.
“Global warming is a global phenomenon and Kashmir is no exemption. Global warming here has started a seasonal shift. By December end, we would have otherwise seen snow, but the entire month passed as a dry month,” he said. Bhat said that while people largely contribute to pollution they should also contribute to bring the levels of pollution down. “For that, plantation is the only solution,” he said.
Asked about the SKIMS study that pollution leads to 10,000 deaths in Kashmir annually; Bhat said that the report needs to be studied thoroughly as to whether it is just air pollution only or other reasons that contribute to deaths. “At times, water pollution also contributes to deaths,” he said.
Regional Director PCB said that the Board gets complaints every day. “We have to attend court every week,” he said.
He said under the New Industrial Policy 2022, there are set parameters and norms that are mandatory for opening a unit or venture. “We have sealed many hotels, industrial units and even stone crushers for violating the norms,” he said.