According to a scientific research, it is
predicted that swathes of glaciers in the Hindu Kush, the
Himalayas and the Karakorum are retreating due to an average
increase in the atmospheric temperature. Chitral, located in the
midst of the Hindu Kush and Hindu Raj mountain range, contains
more than 22 vast stretching glaciers with an average length of
10 k ms each. The famous Chianter stretching over an area of 32
km- length is the largest one from where the River Chitral
One of the key factors in the retreat of glaciers and the
consequent flooding is attributed to the cutting of trees on a
large scale, which are the moderators of the atmospheric
temperature as they produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.
Shockingly, the total area covered by forests in Chitral is just
approximately 2% of the total mountainous land which is
abysmally low and quite alarming. The reason behind this
pathetic situation is the cutting down of trees for the purposes
of construction and fuel. To add, timber mafia has also ravished
the area of its forest resource smuggling woods out of the
district putting the life the inhabitants in a great jeopardy.
This unabated ravishing of forests in Chitral has led to soil
erosion, land-sliding and devastating floods. Several villages
were washed away by floods over the past few years; the case in
point is the picturesque Sonoghar valley devastated as a result
of the burst of the overhanging glacial lake. The danger looms
large on the horizon if preventive measures are not taken to
preserve the forest resources in Chitral. It is encouraging to
train thousands of youngsters to deal with the unpredictable
catastrophes but it is also equally important to do something
tangible and practical for the preservation of trees which will
have a salutary effect on the environment at large.
The most important measure that comes to mind at this point is
to make for the deficiency in the forest resource of Chitral by
launching campaign for plantation in the areas which are lying
barren. The student community should be taken on board for this
purpose as a sign of volunteerism. The community organizations
and the experts in the relevant field should visit the
educational institutions to educate the youngsters with regard
to the environmental degradation and the way-out for its
preservation. They should be tasked with mission to plant more
and more trees in their individual capacity. The well
established organization should facilitate them in this regard.
Notwithstanding, efforts should be made at the higher level to
import natural gas from Tajikistan which is the biggest
reservoir of natural gas and is contiguous to Chitral
geographically. The problem of fuel can also be overcome
utilizing the abundant water resource for the purpose of power
generation. It is pertinent to mention that Chitral has a
capacity of power generation up to 4500mwatts. The indifference
of government towards utilizing this facility is beyond
understanding despite the fact that power-deficit in the country
has crossed 3000 mwatts. Moreover, restrictions should be placed
on the use of wood for manufacturing and construction purposes.
Rather, metal should be used as an alternative.
As it goes, "Better late than never". We the people of Chitral
should rise to the occasion because the post-Lawary scenario
will present a different picture to show. What scares us is the
man-made catastrophe and we should make tangible efforts to
fend-off its adverse effects and join the global community in
their efforts to combat global warming which is also impacting
Chitral because of its location enveloped by the glaciated
mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush and the Hindu Raj.
09 May 2010.