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Kashmir Himalayas facing disaster


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The recent devastation caused by rains and flash floods in northern state of Uttrakhand has brought in sharp focus Kashmir Himalayas, which houses famous Hindu religious shrine. Environmentalists fear that the increased flow of pilgrims to the ecologically fragile areas could spell doom for the environment and could lead to Uttrakhand-like devastation. Every year, tens of thousands of pilgrims from across India visit Amarnath cave shrine, situated 14,000 feet above sea level. Experts say that the huge influx of pilgrims into the fragile eco-system is disturbing the ecological balance, wildlife habitat and affecting the nearby glaciers, putting Kashmir on the brink on an impending disaster. Tonnes of solid waste are littered along the Amarnath route which is polluting nearby rivers, giving rise to the water borne diseases in the region. Pertinently, more than 200 pilgrims had died due to the devastating natural calamity in 1996. But even that failed to wake up the authorities. People of Kashmir have long been demanding that the annual Hindu pilgrimage be regulated on pattern of Gangotri pilgrimage for better ecology. Experts says if the rate of receding of glaciers continues at the current pace, there will be water shortage not only in Kashmir but also in other parts of south Asia which depend on the river waters of Kashmir. In the next two decades, the temperature is likely to rise by 4 degree Celsius in this Himalayan region, and environmentalists fear that the ecologically fragile areas of the valley may bear the full brunt if the authorities continue to ignore the warnings. http://www.presstv.ir/



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