A group of mountaineers and researchers from Shimshal Valley Hunza Gilgit, reached Askoli, a remote mountainous village in Skardu, after walking across the Braldu Pass to raise awareness about saving glaciers from depleting.
Their journey started last month from Islamabad and the expedition started from Shimshal Village in Hunza-Gojal on January 1, 2017.
The expedition members surveyed Mulungdi and Khurdupin glaciers before embarking on their journey to Askoli on Jan 6. They reached Askoli here on Monday.
Pakistan is home to world’s largest ice glaciers out of the polar region. Spread over an area of 16,933 square kilometer, there are over 5,000 glaciers in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral regions which includes the famous Siachin Glacier, Biafo Glacier, Khoordhopin Glacier, Batura Glacier, Braldu Glacier, Snow Lake and many more. These glaciers are the major source of Water feeding the major rivers in Pakistan.
The glaciers are also considered as the water reservoir or water bank of the country. In the wake of the alarming increase in global warming, these glaciers are facing a serious threat resulting in existential threat not just to the over 2 million people of Gilgit-Baltistan but also the 200 million people of the country.
Glacier depletion especially the recent melting was causing flash floods in many areas causing human displacement and loss of lives. In future this can affect agriculture, drinking water supplies, hydroelectric power, and ecological habitats.
This can also affect country’s economy that depends mainly on water from glacier melt. Keeping in view this alarming situation, Pakistan Integrated Mountain Conservancy Programme (PIMCP) -an initiative by young researchers and mountaineers is going to organise the 1st Winter Glacier Conservancy Awareness Expedition 2017.
The expedition members included Abdul Joshi, Niamat Karim, Daulat Muhammed, Bulbul Karim, Eid Muhammed, Ali Rehmat, Mansoor Karim, Syed Zaman, Jalaluddin and Hidayat Shah hail from Shimshal valley.
Of these members, Abdul Joshi, Saeed Zaman, Niamat karim, Hameed ullah, Bulbul karim and Daulat Muhammad were able to cross the highly difficult terrain, including Braldu, Lupke La, Snow Lake, Biafo, Khoordhopin and Yazghail Glacier.
A research expedition had also been held initially, in which young researchers and activists, Adnan Mirza (Gulmigt), Reena (Moorkhun), Reema Shimshal and Syed Ahmad Khan also took part.
The expedition was aimed at monitoring and collecting data to analyze the change in the glaciers due to global warming. It will also work for raising awareness about the rapid and alarming rate of glaciers depletion due to man made global warming and inspiring people at every level around the world in general and Pakistan in particular to stand up and take substantial steps in addressing the issues of global warming and climate change.
“The data and information collected during the expedition will be shared with various university students and research organisations in Pakistan who are conducting research work on glaciers”, Samiullah, one of the researchers in the PIMCP, told media.—APP