Renowned glaciologist Yao Tandong Wednesday called for intensive
protection and monitoring of glaciers, saying development for
tourism has caused the melting of ice and snow and polluted
the environment to some extent.
Tianshan, Qilian, Gongga and Yulong mountain ranges, all in
northwestern China, have been affected to varying degrees,
said Yao, deputy director of Cold and Arid Regions Environment
and Engineering Research Institute affiliated with the Chinese
Academy of Sciences.
"It is good
to develop the tourism industry, but we have to enhance public
awareness of the importance of protecting glaciers, "
he told Xinhua in an interview.
Yao is in Beijing
for the annual session of the National People's Congress,
China's top legislature, as a deputy.
He said that glaciers
are a major source of rivers and that the shrinking of glaciers
will pose a threat to mankind. Yao supported his argument
with the fact that the disappearance of nearby glaciers had
a direct bearing on the disappearance of many oases along
the famous Silk Road.
The scientist warned
that some glaciers in China are experiencing intensifying
melting, citing statistics that the size of glaciers in the
Qilian Mountains shrank by 4.5 percent between 1850 and 1950,
and further by 4.7 percent from 1950 to the present.
He suggested the
state increase investment to establish glacier monitoring
stations, a glacier alarm system and make a thorough study
into the reserve of glaciers and the law of its changes with
the help of remote sensing technology so that prompt countermeasures
can be taken once a glacier is found shrinking.