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Issue 22
, 2010
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Gangotri glacier dying a slow death

Source: The Timesof India, New Delhi, Date: , 2010

Is Gangotri glacier receding at an alarming pace: shrunken by a kilometre in the past 30 years? That’s the question often debated by environmentalists and glacial experts. On Sunday, the question was once again thrown open to experts and media through a short documentary showcasing the prevailing situation in the Gangotri glacier which feeds the river Ganga. The 23-minute documentary, ‘Him Ganga Hum’, produced jointly by Green Peace and a media institute, showed how human interference leading to global warming and continues pollution load is becoming a reason behind the gradual death of the river — receding Gangotri glacier and an ever increasing pollution chewing the life out of a revered river. The function was organised by Qalam Vichar Manch. Experts insist that in the past 30 years Gangotri has retreated at the rate of 30 metres every year. In 1976, experts claim, it was almost a kilometre downhill from where it is today. The average global temperature, the documentary projected, has increased by 0.74 degree Celsius, enough to melt thousands tonnes of snow that shape the Ganga. In fact, some scientists predict that the river would disappear in the next 40 years, while others believe that it will last 400 years. “Researches have shown that Gangotri is not receding. Instead, it is increasing,” said former director of Geological Survey of India (GSI), Vijay Kumar Joshi. He said that as far the death of the Ganga is concerned that may happen not just because of the loss of glaciers. “There has to be gradual recharging of the river. If that is stopped, the river would die. No matter glaciers increase in their sizes,” he said.