People made fun of him and called him mentally unstable for carrying plant samplings and seeds; Society rarely appreciates works which are out of league. He was a trekker and adventure enthusiast but degrading ecosystem of Pahalgam pushed him take a step forward. He travelled indefinite distances in mountains cleaning the garbage littered and planting saplings. Over the years, he went on to plant millions of trees across the area. The 41-year-old man is often called as Mushtaq Pahalgami is an environmental activist and founder of Himalayan welfare organisation. This is story of Mushtaq Ahmad Magrey, a native of Pahalgam town of Jammu & Kashmir. There are numerous examples in our country of individuals and organisations proactively working to preserve the ecosystem.
All healthy civilizations thrived on a well-balanced ecosystem. Earth is the only habitable planet in our solar system, with the humans as the key players of the whole matrix. The days when nature was in a state of equilibrium is a fact in past tense. Humans have cashed on nature to such an extent that there is only a half-state of sorrow over the period. Today’s world is bereft of environmental order, and there is a looming environmental crisis. People rely on biodiversity in ways that are not always obvious or valued in their daily lives. Human health ultimately depends on ecosystem & nature, which are necessary for good human health and prosperous livelihoods (such as the availability of fresh water, food, and fuel sources). If ecological services are no longer sufficient to meet social requirements, the loss of biodiversity may have serious direct effects on human health. Changes in ecosystem have an indirect impact on local migration, livelihoods, income, and, on rare occasions, even political crisis. In addition, the biological diversity of microbes, plants, and animals has enormous advantages for the fields of biology, medicine, and pharmacology. A better understanding of the earth’s biodiversity leads to important medical and pharmaceutical breakthroughs. The detection of potential may be hampered by biodiversity loss. Kashmir is truly blessed with rich biodiversity, ranging from temperate to alpine vegetation, medicinal herbs & varied fauna. Ibex, Snow Leopards, Musk Deer, Wolves, Markhor, Red Bears, Black Bears, and Leopards are regularly spotted in Kashmir’s deep forests. The avian category consists of doves, wagtails, herons, water pigeons, warblers, ducks, geese, partridge, chakor, and pheasants. 240 species of native and migratory birds, including the black-necked crane, have been found in the generally dry desert of Ladakh. Yaks, Himalayan Ibex, Tibetan antelope, snow leopards, wild ass, red bears, and gazelles are some of the animals that add richness biodiversity of Ladakh.
Kashmir had never been a geographical prisoner; its location has abundantly benefitted its flora & fauna. However, in recent years deforestation and degradation of forests have adversely affected rich flora & fauna of Kashmir. The major threats to faunal diversity of the State include habitat loss, habitat degradation and fragmentation, unregulated livestock grazing, poaching, pollution, unsustainable use, over-exploitation, and changing land use patterns. The biotic interference, including unsustainable land use pattern, encroachment and livestock grazing, has resulted in dislocation of many wildlife species. Lack of initiative and traditional lifestyle of migrant community has further worsened the situation. Absence of trees disturb the ecological balance and food chain also they contribute to rampant increase of green house gases. In food chain the principal producers are the plants, and the highest consumer is the man. Human wellness in metro cities has degraded to an alarming rate, even densely forested areas of Kashmir are facing various environmental crisis. Reduction in snowfall, shrinking of glaciers, reduction in lakes, rise in average temperature & extinction of rare species are severely impacting average mortality rate are a few to name. Man is part and parcel of the biosphere and cannot turn a blind eye towards the contemporary ecological crisis and responsibilities concerning the protection of nature. The Dachigam National Park and Khrew-Khanmoh Conserve Reserve, the last remaining habitat for the critically endangered Hangul or Kashmir Stag, were both affected by extensive mining. Environmentalists claim that limestone mining and the hazardous emissions of more than a dozen cement companies are harming the production of saffron and almonds and adversely impacting the fragile zone’s wildlife and human population. The average mortality rate of the state has also been decreasing at an alarming rate. Many medicinal herbs which were unique to the place are now extinct and can only be found in textbooks and internet. Gulmarg, Pahalgam and other notable tourist places have been alarmed by environmental agencies for trash and garbage produced due to tourist. This Garbage is equally responsible for affecting natural habitat and extinction of rare species.
Ideas, Opinions and Views expressed in articles are Writer’s own and may not be in accord with those of SUBAH KASHMIR