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Current Affairs

Siachen glacier

Date: 25 September 2019 Tags: Geography & Environment

Issue

Since January 2018, nearly 130 tonnes of waste has been brought down from the Siachen Glacier and disposed off by the army.

 

Background

Based on a 2018 concept note on waste management on the glacier, the Army has made bringing down waste a part of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for troops. This means that waste disposal is part of its operational procedure.

 

Details

  • On an average, 236 tonnes of waste is generated every year on Siachen glacier. There is now a SOP, for every link patrol or administrative column to bring the waste down.

  • The 130 tonnes disposed of include 48.4 tonnes of biodegradable garbage, 40.32 tonnes of non-biodegradable, non-metallic waste and 42.45 tonnes of metallic scrap.

  • The biggest challenge is the high altitude as most posts are located between 18,000 and 21,000 feet. Nothing degrades at sub-zero temperatures, so everything had to be brought down.

  • The three types of wastes are disposed of differently. Biodegradable waste consists of cartons and packets rolled using baling machines. For the non-biodegradable, non-metallic waste, three incinerators have been set up at Siachen base camp, Partapur, and near Bukdang village, at 10,000 feet.

  • For the metallic waste, there is a plan  to procure industrial crushers to crush it and send it down.

Siachen glacier

  • The Siachen Glacier is a glacier located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.

  • The glacier and its surrounding region is often called the ‘third pole’ because of abundance of water stored in the form of glacial ice.

  • The siachen is a source of water for himalayan rivers such as Nubra, which is a tributary of Indus river.

  • India has held the glacier’s dominating heights after occupying them in 1984 under ‘Operation Meghdoot’.