Most glaciers in the Indian Himalayas are retreating, but there is "no scientific evidence" to link this to climate change and that they will vanish in near future as propagated by the West, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said in New Delhi on Monday.
Releasing a discussion paper that puts together recent studies on glaciers by Indian scientists, he said, "The scientists may debate the causes, but the health of the glaciers is very poor and the level of debris has reached alarming proportions."
"The glacier mass balance has certainly become negative as we are getting less and less snowfall. While most of the 9,500-odd glaciers in the Indian Himalayas are retreating, some, like the Siachen Glacier, are advancing. Some, like the Gangotri glacier, have reduced their rate of retreat," the Minister said, adding most of the glaciers in trouble are the small ones.
"The West has been propagating that the Himalayan glaciers will vanish in the near future say in 2035 but the fact is there is a serious lack of scientific data on the Himalayan glaciers -- only about 10 of them have been studied at all," Ramesh explained.
He said there has been only one monitoring station so far located at Srinagar and to give impetus to research in glaciology, at least 15 such stations will be set up in the Himalayan states such as Uttarakhand and Sikkim.