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Photos: The Dal Lake is ecologically sick

Last updated on: August 8, 2012 16:07 IST

Photos: The Dal Lake is ecologically sick

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

Incidence of unprecedented fish mortality in the famous Nagin Lake, part of the world famous Dal Lake has sent alarm bells ringing about the health of the celebrated water body situated in the heart of summer capital Srinagar.

The fish mortality has been attributed officially to 'depletion of oxygen and high level of nutrients along with flow of large quantity of untreated sewage' into the lake.

The lakes health has been consistently deteriorating despite huge spending on the restoration of its glory.

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Image: Government labourers clearing dead fish from the lake
Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: , Dal Lake

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Photos: The Dal Lake is ecologically sick

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The measures taken for improving the water body included de-weeding, relocation of the Dal dwellers and of houseboats for which the Indian government has been providing liberal assistance to the state.

Early this year, the central government allocated whopping Rs 365 crore to the State government for the purpose.

The state fisheries department has expressed its regret on sudden mortality of fish in Nagin Lake because of 'depletion of oxygen and fluctuation of temperature'.

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Image: Government labourers clear dead fish with machines at Nigeen Lake
Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: , Dal Lake

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Photos: The Dal Lake is ecologically sick

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According to a statement issued by the directorate of fisheries, this happens, "When a water body is loaded with high quantity of nutrients along with flow of large quantity of untreated sewage. Accordingly, the growth of macrophytes is very high."

The statement added, "When in summer high temperature spell continues, the oxidation of nutrients is also very high and brisk, resulting in depletion of oxygen levels in the lake. Due to sudden fall in temperature some adverse effect must have been caused on the fish."

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Image: A flock of ducks wade through thick vegetation at the lake
Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: , Dal Lake

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Photos: The Dal Lake is ecologically sick

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"The department will take required precautionary measures for their protection," the statement said. The ecological disaster has hit the Dal waters days after media reports about the aquatic body having been invaded by Azolla, a deadly water fern, which has now spread in vast areas of Dal and Nagin lakes.

A noted environmentalist, Dr Abdul Majeed Kak recently told a local newspaper that macrophytic flora and thickness of Azolla carpet was recorded to be more than 14 inches.

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Image: A carpet of Azolla, a deadly water fern can be seen on the surface of the lake
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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Photos: The Dal Lake is ecologically sick

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"Imagine the fate of underwater life, benthos, planktons and other water animals including fish that receive no light and cannot respire or photosynthesise. Thick mats of Azolla on the surface is fatal for flora and fauna of lakes as it devoid these of sunlight. It can also choke springs in the lake and impart red coloration to lake waters," Kak said.

Dr M R D Kundangar, a leading hydrobiologist, however, says that the high fish mortality was because of depletion of oxygen in the lake leading to asphyxia.

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Image: A boatman holds up dead fish
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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Photos: The Dal Lake is ecologically sick

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"The Nagin Lake has been subjected to excessive de-weeding which has led to severe depletion of oxygen leading to the high fish morality in the lake," Kundangar told this correspondent.

He admitted Dal Lake was sick. "The quality of water has deteriorated alarmingly. Particularly the hazardous nutrients such as nitrate, nitrogen and phosphates have reached beyond permissible levels resulting in serious weed infestations."

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Image: Government labourers clear dead fish as people look on
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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Photos: The Dal Lake is ecologically sick

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"Frequent algal blooms in the lake are the indicators of high level of pollution," Kundangar said.

"Unabated encroachments within the lake by way extension of floating gardens, lily pads and subsequent conversion of floating gardens into permanent land masses. These conditions have made the lake sick and prone to carrying of water borne pathogens. The lake, I must say is ecologically sick."


Image: Thousands of dead fish can be seen floating in the lake
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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