Plastic waste on Himalayan glaciers worries scientists

February 29th, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by admin  

Shimla, Feb 29 (IANS) Tourists are dumping an increasing amount of non-biodegradable plastic waste on the Himalayan glaciers, and environmental scientists have expressed concern this could damage the fragile mountain eco-system. A survey of several glaciers in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu Valley, carried out by the G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Kullu, found that non-biodegradable plastic waste had grown in the countryside in recent years.

“The non-biodegradable plastic waste on glaciers could spell disaster to the fragile mountain eco-system as it will lead to rapid melting of these glaciers and gradually dry up water sources,” J.C. Kunihal, scientist at the G.B. Pant Institute, said here Friday.

“We found that visitors do not carry back the plastic waste after visiting high mountains. Among the non-biodegradable waste we found plastic bags and bottles left behind in large numbers,” he said.

“Obviously people need to be educated how important it is for them to carry back the plastic waste and dispose it properly so that it doesn’t remain for decades in the fragile Himalayan environment,” Kunihal stressed.

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