Srinagar: Once known for defining the scenic beauty of the Himalayas in Garhwal region, various natural lakes are dying a slow death due to their ignorance. The mere existence of fresh water lakes in the region is under threat and soon they may only be remembered as part of a beautiful history.

Be it world famous Roop Kund, Devaria Tal or Nachiketa Tal in the Nanda Devi Park, absence of a timely initiative in their conservation and promotion is likely to have severe impact on their survival.

A 23-year-long, extensive research carried out by the Hemwati Nandan Garhwal University under the Union Forest and Environment Ministry has expressed serious concern over the vanishing lakes. The study was started by Dr Mahaveer Singh Rawat in 1988 and was carried forward by Dr Kishore Kumar from 1998.

The Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, known as the source of major rivers is also home to 64 natural lakes. The data of 1993-94 data includes about 54 lakes but the current data has been supplemented upto 65 small and big lakes in the region.

Moreover, the condition of Bedni Kund, Dodital and Masar Lake also carry a sorry figure.

The increasing human movement, change in environment and lack of conservation have pushed the lakes towards extinction. Continuous soil erosion on the bank of the lakes and lack of cleanliness has made them shallow and is leading to reduction in their water level and area.

Professor Ramesh Chandra Sharma, Head of Department, Environment Science, Garhwal University said, “The lakes are of utmost significance in the Garhwal region. Limiting and regularizing the human movement can preserve them for longer period. In addition, removal of silt and garbage from the lake on a regular basis is also the need of the hour.”