Climate change is one of the key issues discussed globally today, the threat of which is increasing day by day. A study has claimed that the speed of the melting of glaciers has doubled already. According to the journal Science Advances, between 1975 and 2000, these glaciers were melting by 10 inches per year, but from 2000 to 2016, they were melting by 20 inches per year. This has resulted in the loss of about eight billion tonnes of water.
Amidst all this, it is also necessary to mention the glaciers of the Himalayan range. In the Himalayan range, specifically in India, the Himalayan region is mainly expanded among Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Assam; in 11 states in total. Based on the area, Jammu and Kashmir is at the top with 2,22,236 square kilometres.
For a long time, Jammu and Kashmir has been in the news for political reasons rather than for its God-gifted natural beauty or its tourist destinations. This has been the reason why the struggles of the residents, habitat and climate change impact on them are not visible. More than 1,200 glaciers of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh region are melting fast. From 2000 to 2012, 70 gigatonne glacier mass has melted.
Apart from the environment, it is affecting the economy, politics, society and future conditions. The Himalayan glaciers that fill Asia’s major rivers with water are melting quickly in the world. But there have been different assumptions about this pace. In recent research, with the help of large data and authentic evidence, the melting rate of Himalayan glaciers has been described as serious. It is now clear that this terminology has been used only when it was found in the study that glaciers are not only melting at an unprecedented speed, but the new mass is not being formed in that proportion.
The report published in a journal called Scientific Reports published on Nature’s website said that the researchers covered all the glaciers in the LOC and LAC region, apart from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Their total number has been stated to be over 1,200, and for the first time, satellite data has also been used to understand the changes in the texture, mass and thickness of all these glaciers.
In this report, researchers say that the melting of glaciers occurs due to the increase in temperature and decrease in snowfall, and these changes in temperature and snowfall lead to the emission of greenhouse gases from rapid industrialisation and worldwide fossil fuels. It is worth noting that the process of industrialisation is slow in the Himalayan region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, even though these worrisome changes are taking place. It is because this region is dealing with the phenomenon of global climate change.
The situation is so bad that if a report published in the Water Policy Journal is to be believed, areas of the Hindukush belt in the Himalayan region are suffering from the water crisis which has been the source of many rivers. And by 2050, the difference between demand and supply of water can be doubled.
The melting of glaciers will not only affect our environment, habitat and livelihood because any environmental phenomenon also has its economic, social and political consequences. History is witness that whenever there is a competition for supremacy and occupation of resources, only the oppressed, weak and deprived sections of the society fall into it.
The most evident example is of poor African countries before us. The land of farming here, kilometre after kilometre, has now been transformed into dry sand. Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Nigeria, Chad, Ethiopia, Central African Republic and Eritrea, etc. are those countries that are in severe crisis due to starvation caused by climate change. Food is also hardly available for people to eat here during the day.
Therefore, before this situation of class struggle can come before us, we will have to bring Jammu and Kashmir, called the paradise of the earth, and Ladakh, to the centre of the climate change discussion beyond political hue and cry.