Day: February 1, 2007


Indian and Pakistani armies destroying the Siachen Glacier?

Lifted from comments… (thanks Ajit Singh)

Siachen glacier has been melting alarmingly more due to military activity of India and Pakistan than global warming, a new study has said. Siachen glacier was rapidly melting because of the ongoing military activity at the highest flashpoint of the world, according to the study conducted by Arshad H Abbasi, a consultant for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Source (Zee News)

Well, that’s interesting, and a bold and provocative argument. Where is it coming from? The source is a document from Arshad H Abbasi of the Pakistan wing of the World Wildlife Fund.

The problem is being caused by the establishment of permanent cantonments on either  side of the Saltoro ridge, the daily heavy air traffic to advance camps (up to Indra Col post), the cutting and melting of glacial ice through the application of chemical, daily dumping of more than a ton of chemicals, metals, organic and human waste, daily leakages from 2000 gallons of kerosene oil from 250 km plastic pipeline laid by India throughout the glacier

Unfortunately, the article does not provide any references to studies, or any justification for the argument made. The argument definitely “feels” right, and it maybe true, but the data provided does not support the conclusions. South Asia’s ice is definitely melting, as pointed out earlier, and the effects are going to be fairly catastrophic. It would be good to know why, global warming is surely the prime suspect. And this stupid war does not help, I am sick of India, Pakistan, Al Qaeda, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US, etc. purporting to speak for the Kashmiris, killing and oppressing the people, carrying out ethnic cleansing in the guise of patriotism and destroying one of the most beautiful places on earth. But can military activity destroy the second largest non polar glacier?

Who knows, maybe a potential catastrophe will get the  protagonists talking, and maybe Siachen will become a peace park. All I know is that I start writing a post about the science of the Siachen melt and quickly devolve into a despair spiral as I contemplate the pointlessness of destroying the most beautiful part of South Asia in order to possess it.