Large scale military activities by the Indian forces finally resulted in loss of ice mass at the terminus, heavy deposits of carbon on glaciated ice and increased absorption of solar radiation that are believed to be main cause of unexpected avalanche in Gayari sector of Siachen area.
A data made available to the relevant public sector departments by Pakistan Meteorological Departments (PMD) revealed that trans-boundary pollution in Siachen area caused heavy deposits of carbon on glaciated ice, triggering the temperature to rise due to more absorption of solar radiation in Gayari sector that was believed to be the safest place due to natural protection by a hump and a small nullah.
The satellite images taken with the help of Italy based organization showed 4.3 km ice line retreat and presence of glacier lakes that are enough evidence to prove that glacier is fast melting and shape of snout is constantly changing due to trans boundary pollution effects in the Siachen area.
According to statistics recently prepared by PMD, height of Gayari sector is 13,000 feet and Battalion headquarter was established there some 22 years ago. The temperature in the area can dip to -50 degree centigrade whereas present temperature is around -15 degree centigrade. Some 70-km long Siachen glacier is world’s largest non-polar glacier having 700 sq km of Glacier system area. Average winter snowfall is 35 feet and the glacier is main source of water in the Indus River.
The statistics prepared by non-governmental organizations showed that human waste in the Siachen area occupied by the Indian forces amounts to 1,000 kg a day that is packed in metal drums and dropped into crevasses at the rate of up to 4,000 drums a year and tragically it is all flown in but nothing is ever flown back, showing dumping of all waste material in ice of the glacier.
The waste material also included remains of crashed helicopters, worn out gun barrels, splinters from gun shelling, empty fuel barrels, burnt shelters, telephone wires, skid boards, dropping boards, edible oil containers, canisters, gunny bags, rotten vegetables, bad meat, expired tinned meat, cartons, wrappers, shoes, clothing and ration items.
An official of foreign affairs ministry told ‘The News’ that Pakistan and India on May 30 last year held bilateral talks in which India turned down a Pakistani proposal seeking the immediate demilitarisation of Siachen. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan handed over a ‘non-paper’ to India in the talks envisaging a clear roadmap for resolution of the longstanding problem.
According to the 2006 cable classified by the Deputy Chief of Mission Geoff Pyatt, every time India and Pakistan came “very close” to an agreement on the Siachen issue, the then Indian prime minister would be forced to back out by the Indian defense establishment, the Congress Party hardliners and opposition leaders.
Dr. Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry, a lead author of National Climate Change Policy and vice president of WMO Asia Region, told ‘The News’ that the recent Siachen tragedy needs to be changed into an opportunity for peace.
Giving a reference of Antarctica Treaty signed in December 1959, during the height of cold war, by United States, Soviet Union and 10 other countries he said the treaty set-aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigations and banned military activities.
He said, “Pakistan and India may also follow the same and withdraw their forces from the Siachen Glacier. The area can be opened for scientific research after giving a status of non-military zone.”