Sonamarg, June 6: The Thajiwas glacier in Jammu and Kashmir has receded rapidly in the last few years mostly due to global warming and man-made factors, environmental experts said. However, they believe that measures taken by the agencies concerned on the directions of the court will have major positive impact in coming time.
"Studies have shown that most of the glaciers in J&K are receding due to climate change at an average rate of 18 metres per annum. Melting glaciers erode land and fill up the space creating glacial lakes. However, there is no such formation of any glacial lake at Thajiwas glacier in Sonamarg which indicates that there is no such major threat of any outburst," Prof. Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, Dean Research, Kashmir University told Greater Kashmir.
"It has been observed that the Thajiwas glacier has further receded about 50 meters in last 3 years,” he said, adding that till September 2017 it had receded 338 meters at an average of 3.38 meters per year. “However, in the last three years due to the climate change the Thajiwas glacier has rapidly receded about 50 meters at an average of around 17 meters per year," Prof Ramshoo told Greater Kashmir.
He said that in last ten years due to climatic change almost all glaciers in Jammu and Kashmir are melting rapidly at an average of around 17 meters per year.
However, he was hopeful that certain measures taken by the government will have a good impact on the glacier in coming times.
“The J&K High Court’s ban on the vehicular traffic to the Thajwas glacier since 2017 and the consequent closure of the road and the restaurants along the way from Sonamarg to the Thajawas glacier has had positive impact on the black carbon concentration in the area," Prof Romshoo said.
In a significant development the Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) two years ago banned the vehicular traffic on the Sonamarg-Thajiwas road stretch thus making it a vehicle free zone.
Official sources said that the decision to ban the vehicular traffic to this area was taken following the directions from the High Court.
Referring to the HC directions dated 11-09-2017 in PIL 404/2011 titled Court on its own Motion v/s State and others wherein the HC had ordered strict regulation of vehicular traffic on the right side of the Srinagar-Leh road and that there should be designated pony track and nature trails with proper signage, the CEO Sonamarg Development Authority in an order said: “. . . As such, no vehicular traffic shall be allowed to proceed towards Thajiwas from national highway road and the designated pony track be used instead of the Sonamarg meadows.”