The entire Kashmir region has been considered one of the hotspots for national/ international tourists. The condition of its meadows and mesmerizing views of lakes and streams are different in every season, which touches the hearts of visitors. Those who want to see the snowfall in winter and slide on its flock to the cold regions from all over Pakistan. Every view of Kashmir valley is quixotic for them. With the recent trends in climatic conditions and environmental degradation in the last few decades, Kashmir is losing its traditional environment. While attending the recent seminar organized on the issue of the effects of climate change in Kashmir, I was surprised to learn that this year’s spring season lasted only a few days due to which strange changes are being observed in the environment. That is why maize production is also severely affected along with the decline in fruit and vegetable cultivation in Kashmir.
The global think tank German Watch has said in a recent report that after the Philippines and Haiti, Pakistan could be the most permanently affected country in the world by natural disasters as a result of climatic conditions. In this regard, the major environmental threats will make Pakistan and Kashmir prone to bear massive losses. As the state will expose to rapid floods, droughts, famines, fluctuations in seasonal rainfall patterns, sudden rise in sea level and rivers, and extreme heat waves.
One of the reasons for the above-mentioned problems is the increase in population in mountainous areas and building infrastructure along rivers, the uninterrupted influx of tourists, deforestation, the proliferation of vehicle utility, and lack of mismanagement for the preservation of freshwater resources and disposal of waste. In addition to this, more fueling is done through unauthorized human interventions in animal habitats, construction of development projects without survey, and careless
distribution of resources.
The role of government and local administrations is crucial in the whole trend of environmental degradation, which gives rise to climate change. Its job is to set up structures and mechanisms to mitigate the negative effects of human activities on the environment. That is a fact. That is why governments around the world have enacted legislation for the sake of the environment, and they are now being strictly enforced. Here the government itself is taking such measures, which increase the environmental pollution. Illegal deforestation is not only rampant but the government itself is involved in deforestation in the name of development projects. At the same time, valuable Timber wood logs from Kashmir’s forests are sold outside the state. Ignoring the environment can be very dangerous for achieving development. Unfortunately, the government seems to be sacrificing the environment for the benefit of the people, rather than for the wider and lasting interests of the people.
There is a need for civil society and NGOs of Kashmir to join hands and save the region from the worst swamp of global warming by raising awareness among the masses and through small initiatives. The people of Kashmir need to put pressure on the administration the system of nature should not be tampered with for its own interests. Climate change is also a major cause of forest fires across Pakistan. As a result of this fire, two officials of the Azad Kashmir Forest Department have also lost their lives recently. The fire has also severely damaged fruits, wildlife populations, and the environment.
There should be a complete ban on the construction near water reservoirs. A policy of non-destruction of glaciers should be adopted. In addition, we need to plant trees at least in our local areas, protect water resources from pollution, protect forests and create a sense in people about how we can avoid global warming.