Agence India Press
December 2, 2011
Srinagar: Expressing concern over the melting of Thajwas Glacier falls in the Sonamarg area; experts suggest need for regulation of tourist in-flow to the all important ice masses for its longevity.
Every year thousands of tourists and pilgrims visit the Thajwas Glacier, which leads to degradation of Environment mainly due to heavy fleet of vehicles carrying pilgrims and tourists close to the glacier.
The huge deployment of security forces further contributes to melting of glacier.
“India has taken tough measures restricting tourist and pilgrim traffic to save the Gangetic glaciers; it tends to sidestep the Kashmir glaciers, which are source of water for the Indus and the Jhelum. At Thajwas Glacier, Government was making no efforts to preserve it which is melting at the fast rate,” experts warn.
Senior Scientist at the Environment and Remote Sensing Department, Kashmir, Abida W. Deva told Agence India Press that, “People drive vehicles near Thajwas Glacier, releases poisonous gases and make the temperature warmer leading to the melting of glacier.”
She emphasize for developing of Eco-Tourism concept says, “We have to develop eco-tourism concept in the state and one should go on cycles or ride on ponies to tourist spots. Traffic movement should be restricted at Sonamarg for the preservation of Thajwas glacier.”
Environmentalists also raise concern that apart from the sewage generating by visitors around Thajwas glacier, they also throw tons of non-biodegradable items made from polythene and other plastics on the place.
“Government should impose complete ban on polythene or carrying of any plastic bottle in the radius of four kilometers at Thajwas Glacier for its preservation,” experts said, by adding, “The government has exposed Baltal route to heavy traffic, which is likely to affect the ecological balance and the health of the Nehnar and Thajwas Glacier.”
Senior Geologist at Kashmir University, Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, who conducted research on Kashmiri Glaciers said, “I observed The Thajwas Glacier since 1980 and found a huge visible change. This Glacier has been almost vanished and is confined to only few corners of that place.”
Romshoo said, “When a huge population visits this place, they attract more ultra violation radiations which increases the temperature and leads to melting of Glacier.”
He suggests carrying capacity of people to Thajwas Glacier should be restricted for further melting of Glacier.
He also raises fears of environmental degradation, ecological imbalance and adverse impact on the Thajwas glacier from the heavy rush of pilgrims and the visitors.
He calls to regulate tourist inflows into the valley’s glacier to ensure that these remain within the carrying capacity of the ecology.
An Action Aid report has also warned that melting of Kashmiri glaciers could trigger massive food security problems in the near future. It said “some glaciers have already disappeared because of which discharge of water in streams has significantly gone down.”
Experts said, climate change is undoubtedly shrinking Kashmir’s glaciers and reducing snowfall, which both provide key water to the region.
Director, Environment Kashmir said, “Our Department has not done any research on melting of Glaciers in the state. Carrying of vehicles near to Thajwas Glacier could be reasons for its melting but it is the State Pollution Control Departments duty to restrict the movement of people. Nor ban on polythene comes under our jurisdiction and is also SPC Departments job.” (AIP News)
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