Once deemed one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, the Dal lake is now a mere reflection of itself. Urbanisation and urban encroachments have seen the lake lose a lot of its surface area. According to a LAWDA report, in 1981 the total area spanned by the Dal Lake was about 1538 hectares, that has decreased to 1305 hectares now. The report also mentioned the vast urbanisation along the banks. People have lived around the Dal for generations. In 1981, around 5.5 hectares was occupied by people and it had increased to 53 hectares as of 2011. The Dal lake has unfortunately been converted into a waste pit.
Sewage flows into the lake, domestic and urban waste ends up in it. According to the LAWDA report, 1200 house boats on the lake generate approximately 9000 metric tons of waste annually, which is dumped into the lake. Eutrophication i.e. the excessive growth of unwanted plants in the lake, has led to the depletion of the oxygen content in the water, affecting aquatic life.
The failure to rehabilitate people is another big problem the authorities face. More than seventy thousand people reside in and around the lake.
The LAWDA authorities estimate that the water temperature has increased from 19.2 °C in 2011 to 19.8 °C in 2019. It’s depth has decreased from 12.8 m in 2011 to 2.4 m in 2019.
Human Intervention has led to the deterioration of the lake. We need to come together as a society to protect it.
Peer Syed Uzma Ibrahim
Department of Tourism,
Central University of Kashmir