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Increasing pollution declines Dal’s water quality
‘Lake receives 157 tones of phosphorous, 243 tons of inorganic nitrogen annually’
SRINAGAR, Aug 27: As the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) allegedly failed to ensure the complete arrest of discharge and run-off from catchments’ areas of world famous Dal Lake despite receiving hundreds of crores of rupees from Government of India for its maintenance, the survey has revealed a drastic decline in its water quality following an intensified increase of inorganic nitrogen and phosphorous.

The degrading water quality has also indicated a harsh decline in fish production of local species.

“There is a drastic change in the water quality of Dal Lake due to intensified release of nutrients by soil erosion, run-off from immediate catchments areas and discharge of urban wastes including inorganic fertilizers,” reveals the report number 21 of 2011-12 prepared by GoI titled as Water Pollution in India.

It states that the lake is receiving 156.62 tons of phosphorus from various sources and channels of which about 80.62 tonnes of total phosphorus releases the lake, mainly through two outlets.

It further said that the remaining phosphorous about 76 tons on annual basis is badly polluting the waters of the lake.

“Similarly, 241.18 tons of inorganic nitrogen also inflows into the lake from nonpoint/ point sources out of which about only 109.22 tonnes of it outflows,” report adds.

However, the study said that the nutrient load has mainly been attributed to sewage from the catchments’ area, agricultural practices in the adjoining areas, urbanization and waste discharges.

Stating that the non stoppage of wastage and other sort of pollutions in the lake has led to the substantial decline in local fish production, the report reads that the invasion of new exotic species in the lake is posing new challenges for its survival.

“Azolla, the exotic species of weed is the new invader to the lake and has occupied its greater part. Its birth is mainly attributed to significant changes in the vegetational pattern of the Dal Lake. And its prolific growth in the open areas is due to unabated inflow of effluent channels, drains, raw sewage and enrichment of the lake sediments particularly due to heavy load of organic nitrogen and phosphates,” the report discloses.

Accusing concerned officials for inefficiency in settling basins to retain sediments of water entering into the lake, the report said that the settling basin was only able to catch upto 55 to 58 per cent of sediments.

“This indicated poor efficiency and partial working of the settling basin. In-efficiency of the settling basin in holding the sediment load results in decrease in the depth of the lake and enrichment of its bed with the nutrients and consequently increases in the weeds etc.”

Claiming that the local fish spices is the main victim of the surging pollution in Dal waters, the report says lake was producing local fishes like Schizothorax esocinus, Schizothorax niger, Schizothorax curvifons, Schizothorax. micropogon, Labeo dera, Carassius carassius. “It was observed that their number has declined sharply in the last thirty years and local species have been since outnumbered by Carpiodes. The decline in fish diversity and yield has been attributed to the changes in hydrological regime and loss of critical habitats,” the report exposes.

However, the changes in the species richness has also been attributed to heavy loads of incoming sewage thereby leading to increased eutrophication and impacting on the growth and development of sensitive fish species like Schizothorax.

“The introduction of carp and pollution of lake has resulted in alteration in the balance of local species richness,” the report substantiates.
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News Updated at : Tuesday, August 28, 2012
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