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Jayawijaya mountains' glaciers in danger of disappearing by 2020

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, June 12, 2017  /  11:16 am
Jayawijaya mountains' glaciers in danger of disappearing by 2020

The Puncak Jaya or Carstensz Pyramid, the highest summit of Mount Jayawijaya in Papua. (Shutterstock/File)

Glaciers in the Jayawijaya mountaintops in Wamena, Papua are in danger of disappearing by 2020, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned, urging indigenous peoples as well as businesses in the region to take preventative measures. 

BMKG Wamena head Benny Marlissa underlined that deforestation served as one of the causes behind the retreating glaciers, saying that lack of government involvement in logging by indigenous groups had prompted an increase in glaciers' decline. 

"We see logging everywhere around Wamena, without control, because the public feels that they have hak ulayat [indigenous land rights]," Benny said on Friday in Wamena, as quoted by Antara news agency.

Additionally, Benny also criticized economic interests as a driving force behind logging, with profit-orientated businesses choosing to ignore environmental concerns. "If there is logging, there should also be replanting," he said. 

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Highlighting that the mountainous areas in Papua are rocky with a thin layer of soil, Benny said tree growth would also take longer than normal. 

Separately, BMKG head Andi Eka Sakya previously said glaciers in Jayawijaya Peak risk disappearing by 2020, adding that the latest observations recorded a decrease of 1.42 meters between May and November 2016.

"The remaining ice layer at Jawawijaya peak measures 20.54 meters. The layer of ice by May 2016 had reduced by 4.26 meters since November 2015 due to the strong El Niño effects in 2015 and 2016," Andi said. 

The government and the global community must take strategic measures to suppress melting ice at the Jayawijaya Peak, Andi said, noting that it is one of three ice peaks on the equator, with the others in Africa and Peru. 

Necessary steps must combat actions that could trigger further global warming, such as illegal logging and high carbon emissions, he added. (liz/kes)

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