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If humans stop exploiting nature, it would slowly heal and restore its own ecosystem. Indicators of environmental degradation are evident -Experts

World Environment Day observed

Srinagar, June 05, 2021: Webinar on World Environment Day was observed by Institution of Engineers (India) J&K State Centre, Srinagar (IEI JKSC) and National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India in collaboration with Divisional Administration Kashmir, Govt. PG College for Women, Gandhi Nagar Jammu, J&K Forest Department, SSM College of Engineering and Technology Parihaspora and J&K State Emergency Operation Centre, Srinagar. The theme of the Webinar was “Ecosystem Restoration for improved relationship with Nature.”

The speakers for Webinar were Dr. Sangita Nagari, Principal Govt. PG College for Women, Gandhi Nagar Jammu, Er. Aamir Ali, Chairman Institution of Engineers (India) J&K State Centre, Srinagar, Dr MRD Kundangar, Former Director (R&D) J&K LAWDA, Mutaherra Abida, Senior Scientist J&K Pollution Control Board, Irfan Ali Shah, Conservator of Forests, Dr (Professor) Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, Dean Research, University of Kashmir, Dr Amir Ali Khan, Faculty NIDM, Er Syed Shabir Ahmed Ruffai, Director Skill Development SSM College of Engineering, Parihaspora. The Webinar was coordinated by Er M. Aaquib Sultana Waheed Deva, Honorary Secretary, IEI JKSC, Yogita Grabyal, Young Professional NIDM, Bilquees Dar and Mohmmed Suhail Wani, Consultants Disaster Management. A documentary on Environment day prepared by Er Abdul Rashid Bhat, from EMMRC University of Kashmir was also played during the webinar.

Er. Aamir Ali said that nature has blessed sufficient resources including sunlight, air, wind, water, forests, animals, birds, wildlife, fish, plants, oil reserves, minerals etc, but humans in their greed have over-exploited the fragile environment and natural resources. He said that massive deforestation and excavation of land for constructing roads, deep inside forests have caused loss of biodiversity and increased disasters. Due to COVID-19 pandemic; lockdowns were imposed globally and all commercial activities came to a halt, resulting in reduction in air, noise and water pollution. He suggested that if humans stop exploiting, nature would slowly heal and restore its own ecosystem. Dr. Amir Khan said awareness generation, capacity building and Disaster Management issues are associated with the fragile ecosystem. Dr. Sangita Nagari said that humans have destroyed the ecosystem causing an imbalance. She said that GDP is dependent on natural resources and nature provides everything for sustenance, thus it is imperative for everyone to play a part in the restoration of the ecosystem. Irfan Ali Shah said that there is a sense of urgency to save the planet as destruction to the environment is visible, in the form of loss of biodiversity, increased air, water & noise pollution. He urged religious and social institutions to come forward and reduce noise pollution and also to reduce the consumption of firewood, used in hamams, by installing solar water heaters. He cautioned that the ecosystem is getting degraded and we need to act fast to protect it. Mutahara Abida Deva said that there is a need to frame an eco-restoration plan to safeguard the glaciers and mountain ecosystem and that if the current trend is allowed to continue the biodiversity will be at increased risk of extinction. She cautioned that depleting glacial cover would result in scarcity of water. Dr Shakil Romshoo said that the indicators of environmental degradation are evident and have increased vulnerability to disasters. He said that there is a possibility of an increase in temperature and abnormal increase in precipitation. He cautioned the need to have a culture of environmental consciousness. He said that the glaciers are melting at alarming rates leading to shifting of the stream flow. Use of pesticides is resulting in major health hazards, including increased cases of cancers. He said that institutional mechanisms need to be strengthened and that Government schemes fail, because of lack of community involvement. Dr. MRD Kundangar spoke about deforestation and its effects on land use and depleting forest cover. Syed Shabir Rufai said that educational institutions can play a very important role in spreading the message of sustainability of the ecosystems.

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