Lakes in Kashmir, immediately bring to mind the Dal Lake. Less is known about Anchar Lake, which is a large lake in Srinagar. The Anchar Lake is about 8 kms long and 3 kms wide. Situated amidst scenic surroundings, the Anchar Lake was best enjoyed by tourists in a Shikhara(Kashmiri-style Gondolas) or houseboat. That was a thing of the past.
Today, Anchar Lake is on the verge of extinction.
The pollution and the discharge of untreated effluents besides encroachments have contaminated the lake. The flora and fauna that once thrived in the Anchar Lake have been destroyed and the lake is now infested with weeds. The water here has contaminated due to direct dumping of sewage and waste material in the lake from human settlements.
Most of the well-known lakes in Kashmir have been deteriorating in the past few years. The Jammu and Kashmir state government had allocated funds to help in restoration of lakes. But, the results of restoration projects are yet to be seen! For a state ravaged with war, the people, and the environment are paying a heavy price. Hope peace prevails in what was once called ‘Paradise on Earth.’