Paradise Lost: Kashmir’s Vanishing Glaciers, Waters, and Forests

Kashmir, the ruggedly beautiful mountainous region that lies along the India-Pakistan border, was long known as 'paradise on earth,' but in recent decades it has been more like hell thanks to the bloody conflict that has claimed over 90,000 lives. Now relative peace has returned to the region but another disaster looms: The glaciers, rivers, and forests in Kashmir are disappearing.

In a state whose economy depends on agriculture and tourism, the decrease in water resources is catastrophic. River and stream levels are down by two thirds in just 40 years. Deforestation and logging have resulted in silt build-up that has blocked the natural springs feeding Kashmir's lakes, which are also threatened by the absence of sewage systems needed to separate toxins from water sources.

From trekking with scientists to Himalayan glaciers, tracking deforestation, and wading through the lakes of Srinagar to monitor the extent of water pollution, this project analyzes the environmental situation in Kashmir and looks at what is being done to combat the crisis.

Kicking it in Kashmir

A black flag waved ominously over a pile of rocks next to a soccer goal, in Gani Memorial Stadium in Srinagar, Kashmir. It was June 11, the first day of the World Cup.

I’m not going to Kashmir

"I'm not going to Kashmir," said my brother defiantly. We were in the ticket line at the New Delhi airport about to board a flight to Srinigar, the capital of Kashmir. "I just don't have a good feeling about going to this place, it's just too dangerous." When I looked at the fear in his eyes, I realized there was no way he would board the plane.

From Drought to Flood - Water Images Across the Globe

Water issues affect us all, from the women who spend hours daily fetching water to political battles over international rivers to melting icepack and rising sea levels. We are all downstream.

Worldwide, just under 900 million people lack reliable access to safe water that is free from disease and industrial waste. And forty percent do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. The result is one of the world's greatest public health crisis: 4,500 children die every day from waterborne diseases, more than from HIV-AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.