Kashmir residents demand action as Russian poplar trees pose severe health risks

SRINAGAR (KIMS) — The residents of the Kashmir Valley have appealed to the authorities to take action and cut down the Russian poplar trees, as they pose severe health risks, particularly to children and the elderly.

The residents have also demanded that the government find an alternative to the Russian poplar trees, which have become a menace. The Russian poplar trees were introduced by the government in the 1980s to meet the demand for wood in the Kashmir Valley, but these trees have become notorious for their allergenic pollen, which exacerbates respiratory problems such as asthma.

Every year, during the late spring and early summer months (May and June), there is a substantial increase in cases of respiratory problems, particularly among children and the elderly in the valley.

Local residents said, “It has become difficult for us to go outside, particularly for our children who go to school and face serious health threats as pollen is flying in the air.”

“The administration should find an alternative to the Russian poplar trees as soon as possible or cut them down, as they pose a serious health threat to society,” they said.

In 2015, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ordered the administration to eradicate Russian poplar trees across the Kashmir Valley.

In 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court stayed its own 2015 order directing the civil administration to cut down Russian poplar trees in the Union Territory and directed the Chief Secretary of J&K to constitute a high-level committee to study whether these trees are the cause of multiple diseases for people. — (KIMS)