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Sewage treatment plants give a breather for Kashmir houseboats.

Byline: ANI

Srinagar, Mar 6 (ANI): The houseboats in Kashmir got a breather in the form of mini Sewage Treatment Plants that are being installed by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LWDA LWDA Labor and Workforce Development Agency (California, USA) ), to prevent the sewage from the houseboats from further polluting the scenic Dal Lake The Dal Lake is a famous lake in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, in India. The lake itself is connected to a number of other lakes of the Kashmir valley. It is well known for its approximately 500 Victorian-era wooden houseboats, originally built as vacation homes for landless British .

After a court ordered the closure of these houseboats dotting the Dal Lake, as it was felt that they were polluting the lake by its discharge of liquid and human waste, the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority had launched a massive drive against the houseboats and hotels around the lake.

Raw sewage, land encroachment and years of neglect have been threatening the survival of the lake.

With the installation of these mini sewage treatment plants, the authorities hope it will prevent further pollution of the lake and will solve many of their problems by acting on bacteria, removing the pollutants and harmful chemicals and releasing treated water into the lake.

Initially, only four such plants are being installed to check the effectiveness of this drive, but soon more plants will be installed.

"This will solve many of our problems. So far it has been installed in two houseboats and the reports are positive. It (plants) of four different companies were to be installed in four houseboats and the one which is best will be selected. It is a breather for us," said Sabah-Ul-Solim, Senior Scientist, LWDA.

The houseboat owners seemed quite relieved by the initiative and hoped it would work.

"There are around 1200 houseboats in Dal Lake. During the peak season the place is choked with visitors. So there is lot of sewage during that period which flushes into the lake, but once we have this system in place obviously we will be having a very good impact on the lake ecology," said Azim Tuman, President, Houseboat Owners Association.

Environmentalists say thousands of tonnes of sewage spew into the lake, feeding weeds and choking the lake and its aquatic life of oxygen.

The lake's size has been halved in a few decades, to some 13 square km (Eight square miles), due to farming land encroachment.

A study in 2007 by the state's Comptroller and Auditor General Comptroller and Auditor General is the abbreviated title of a government official in a number of states, including the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, India, and China.  reported that the lake has excessively high levels of toxic metals due to sewage. Pollutants were accumulating in the fish and water consumed by humans.

Tests of water samples showed arsenic levels were almost 1,000 imes above

The scenic Dal Lake in the heart of Srinagar, is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is home to 2,000 ornately-carved pinewood pine¬∑wood ¬†
1. The wood of the pine tree.

2. A forest of pines. Often used in the plural.
 houseboats, whose owners are still dependent on tourism. By Parvez Butt (ANI)

Copyright 2009 Asian News International The Asian News International (ANI) agency provides multimedia news to China and 50 bureaus in India. It covers virtually all of South Asia since its foundation and presently claims, on its official website, to be the leading South Asia-wide news agency.  (ANI) - All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Mar 6, 2009
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