Watch: How China's project is damaging environment in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan

An NGO in Pakistan has declared 36 Glaciers dangerous for the environment in Gilgit Pakistan area. Photograph:( WION )

WION Web Team Delhi, India Mar 06, 2018, 02.42 AM (IST)

Although China Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC, is being seen by Pakistan as a game changer in terms of development and infrastructure, the highly touted China-backed project could also turn unsustainable. 

An NGO in Pakistan has declared 36 Glaciers dangerous for the environment in Gilgit Pakistan area. According to the NGO officials, the glaciers here are melting at a faster rate posing a serious threat to the locals living in the area. The cause of glacier-melting is not global warming but the launch of the "Economic corridor" that is being co-developed by Pakistan and China.

The Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan has reportedly been facing several climatic threats since the launch of the CPEC. The multi-billion dollar developmental and infrastructure project is vital to China's road development plan.  

The 3000-km long, 62 billion dollar corridor runs from Kashgar in West China traversing through Pakistan occupied Kashmir, plains and desserts to reach Gwadar, Pakistan on the shores of the Arabian sea.

China is reported to have been building various infrastructure projects including road and railway networks and power plants in Pakistan with over 30,000 Pakistanis employed on various corridor projects. 

Pakstan's Gilgit-Baltistan enjoys high mountainous range, splendid glaciers and magnificent valleys. The region plays an important role in hydro-power generation. 

The China-backed project is now raising the possibility of irrecoverable damage to the area as trees are being cut and farmlands are taken over to undertake construction work. 

Pakistan needs to work closely with the government of China to ensure that the construction work does not affect the environment or displace the locals. 

A WION report