India: Pollution caused by seven cement plants in the Khrew area of South Kashmir is adversely affecting wildlife, saffron production, human and livestock wellbeing, according to local media.
The local people said that the worst affected villages of Khrew include Pakhribal Nagadore and Botthen. The lives of people living in these villages have been 'turned into hell.' Locals have demanded that the government strictly enforce pollution control norms at the cement plants.
Environmental science expert Ghulam Ahmad Bhat, who has studied the effects of cement plants in Khrew on the human lives, flora, fauna and wildlife, said that their presence is harmful in the short- and long-term. He said that mercury emissions have already affected saffron production, while dust pollution has affected both Khrew woods and the neighbouring village of Harwan. Bhat added that the area also has more respiratory problems among locals.
A meeting between the civil society Khrew Auqaf Committee, deputy commissioner Pulwama Neeraj Kumar and the cement plant owners was held to discuss pollution and monitoring. A resolution is expected to be presented at a second meeting within a month.