SRINAGAR: Kashmir is Kashmir only because it is Kashmir. The alluring beauty and rich natural resources are its invaluable assets. Kashmir is known for its once serene environment, rich biodiversity, abundant waters, its snow clad sturdy mountains, vast backgrounds of meadows.

Kashmir is undoubtedly facing serious environmental challenges. One can better imagine the grave environmental crisis and climate change by the September 2014 flood fury, recurrent flood threats and prevalent strange weather pattern. Such calamites and misfortunes are our own sown seeds illustrated by miserable stories of Dal, Nigeen, Aanchar, Mansbal , Wular and other wetlands which have lost their potential soaking capacities.

The charismatic Valley has fallen prey to miscreants and eco-robbers.The mountains are being plundered. Wildlife is ruthlessly massacred without any mercy. The wetlands are encroached- filled, levelled and impressive buildings constructed. The housing facilities and towering shopping establishments are painted on the natural landscape. Lakes of yore, crystal clear and pure are polluted and invaded, and are being converted to playing fields and estates.

The environment is literally plundered not just by the Kashmiris. The Armed forces pose a serious and critical threat to our forest resources . It is an open secret that the military is making deep inroads into the forest sanctuaries, taking away the green gold.

One wonders if this is the same land which was nourished and fostered by our ancestors who struggled to keep it safe and protected. Kashmiris have not yet risen against environmental devastation. We have not taken any stringent action to preserve the bountiful gifts of nature and instead are in the deep sleep of ecological ignorance, despite repeated signs and warnings.

It is high time to avert further degradation of the environment. There is no other alternative. We need to stop polluting our surroundings, streams and the lakes. We have to put an end to axing natural forests and discontinue all that infringes upon nature rights. We have to match our political struggle with the struggle for the environment to preserve what we have so that we can inherit what we preserve.