A prestigious Science Journal dated March 1, 2013 has reported that the Himalayan glaciers are melting at an increasing rate due to soot or black carbon being wafted up to the slopes from the valleys below. The burning of wood, dung and crop residue as well as coal and diesel adds to the soot accumulation on the glaciers at 5,000 meters and above, which is causing global warming. South Asia is a black carbon hotspot, where more than half of the estimated 5 million tons of black carbon is released into air each year, from Indo-gigantic plains during dry months from January to May, when there are no rains.

Pakistan is in a worse situation as Karakoram Mountains are subjected to westerlies, which can bring dust and pollutants all the way from Africa and the Middle East. As such we must try to reduce the pollution by devising such burners that don’t release soot in the atmosphere. This brings us to main question of generating thermal energy from coal burning as the main culprit, making hydel energy a clean alternative to prevent the melting of our glaciers that feed our rivers. Policy decisions are needed at government. level to save our glaciers from greater melting due to reduced reflection of sun rays by as such as 5 per cent that would be increasing the melting rate of glaciers.

DR MUHAMMAD YAQOOB BHATTI,

Lahore, April 4.