The Severe Impact of Climate Change in Himalayas

28 June 2012 | Article

In Himalayan regions the temperature has been rising day by day. The different study report shows that temperatures in the Himalayas are increasing at a faster rate. What snow was remaining on the mountains has melted completely and the glaciers have retreated quickly. Many of the mountain ranges are barren, without snow over them. There has not been snow over the past months due to the severe impact of climate change.

The latest impact—The well known Japanese Environmentalist Mr. Ken Noguchi and his team found the cause of the recent Seti Flood in Kaski, Nepal. According to his team that massive Ice-landslide at the height of 6500m.from Annapurna IV (7525m.) has blocked the gorge of Seti river due to which the newly formed snow lake outburst and caused the devastative flood. That the flood killed 72 people and swept about half a dozens of settlement areas.

The peoples who live in the mountain regions are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. Most of the grass root level poor people have no knowledge regarding the severe impact of climate change in the mountain regions. They have encountered disasters all year including flash floods, rising temperatures, windstorms, endemic disease, heat-waves, decreasing area of wetlands, rainfall instead of snowfall in the high mountains and intermittent rainfall.

In addition to problems getting water, prolonged droughts also make it difficult for people to get sufficient food in Nepal. It is not possible to irrigate the cultivable land in the hill regions, thus the production of rice, potato, maize, millet, wheat, barely etc. are continuously decreasing in the Himalayas. Intensive rainfall, caused by global warming, also leads to heavy soil erosion, damaging cultivated lands. The farmers should know the climate pattern before taking decision of planting crops, but they are not aware why such disasters are happening—they do not understand the changes in climate that are affecting their lives dramatically.

The climate change has been devastating for the cultural life of Himalayan indigenous peoples who depend on biological diversities to perform their spiritual rituals. They have centuries-long relationships with natural resources—the same biological species that are dying out second by second from the impact of climate change. This means that indigenous peoples are losing their identities, existence, customary practices and cultural properties on account of climate change.

Every peoples need to know about global warming and climate change and its’ impacts which affect the lives and livelihood of vulnerable peoples in many of the remotest parts of Nepal. It is necessary to implement the national action plan for climate adaptation and mitigation in a timely manner to avoid further suffering of remote peoples.

By Dilip Singh Rai