India, Pak to take up degradation of sensitive Siachen soon

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (UNI) India and Pakstan will take up the issue of environmental degradation of the sensitive Siachen glacier at a meeting in Islamabad soon.

Informing this to newspersons here, Pakistan Minister for Environment, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Syed Wajid Husain Bukhari said the meeting, which would be a sort of regional workshop, would be attended by other affected SAARC nations like Nepal and others.

Siachen Glacier, which is near the world's second highest mountain K2 in the Karakoram range, is an endangered ecosystem, a situation caused by militarisation in the region.

Mr Bukhari, who has come here to take part in the Delhi Sustainable Summit, said the workshop would be attended by a number of experts too and it would discuss the various complexities of the situation.

He said that though no dates had been decided, the meeting would be held within a couple of months.

Studies say that apart from militarisation, the Siachen glacier was also pollutted by human waste which does not decompose easily at such high altitudes. Besides, there was chemical contamination due to the presence of armies.

Mr Bukhari said glaciers were vital for maintaining water supply in the rivers of the sub-continent.

He said the climate change was going to hit hard countries like Pakistan, and the government was coming out with measures to adress the problems that impacted on environment.

Replying to a question in this connection, he said his country was looking into nuclear energy options in its efforts to usher in a low carbon economy, though at present the share of nuclear power in his country's energy mix was negligible.

He said his country was also going in for massive afforestation to reduce carbon emission.

''We have decided to plant 86 million trees, and have created a task force on environment to speed up the implemntation of related policies,'' said Mr Bukhari.

He said Pakistan has come out with a number of proposals for cooperation with India in the field of environment which he would disclose during his address at tomorrow's Delhi Sustainable Summit.

UNI NAZ MSJ HS1923

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