Vice Chairman Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), Sajad Hussain Tuesday said that 50 percent of the untreated sewage goes into Dal Lake. The VC also admitted that the authority (LAWDA) has not been able to treat the catchment areas around the lake and informed that five Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in the lake area are not functioning properly. The admission of the authority marks slight departure from what it had claimed in the past. Nonetheless, it deserves appreciation as it does not reek of complacency. Untreated sewage flowing into Dal is an old problem, and time is right for the government to devise pragmatic plan to save the lake from further degradation. Installation of STPs to ensure that Dal doesn’t turn murkier was the focus of Omar-led NC-Congress coalition government. It was suggested that commissioning of more treatment plants around Dal would provide needed relief to the lake. The government then also tried to involve business community in the drive to clean up the lake. However, the move was opposed as there couldn’t be consensus on involving the businessmen as stakeholders who put the onus entirely on the government. Unfortunately, the treatment plants and the waste going to Dal didn’t see any major change in the previous PDP-BJP government, despite the former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s backing up several plans to give breather to tourism related initiatives. Pollution in Dal not only has a bearing on the tourism but also on the quality of life of people and other species that populate the lake. There has been substantial evidence that pollution levels in the lake are affecting different species, including the microorganisms play an essential role in maintaining the lake biodiversity. The high court has on number of occasions raised the issues related to the health of the lake. In most of these face-offs, the government (concerned authorities) and the court have been at loggerheads over the issue of salvaging the lake. In many instances authorities failed to even admit that there were lacunae, therefore no headway could be made. Now that the authorities have said that they will work on the issues after conducting an audit, there is at least something to look forward to. Although on the participation front the government may not gain much ground, but it should consider commissioning of more STPs and ensure proper functioning of the existing ones. Fifty percent untreated sewage flowing into Dal is a matter that cannot be snubbed.