"Melting Himalayas concern for millions" (2009)

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The glaciers of the Himalayas are melting faster than anywhere else changing its ecosystem and causing grave concerns for the region, said the speakers at the South Asian Climate Change Conference in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Himalayas, widely known as the water tower of the world, is the sweet water source of nine major rivers in the region, including the Ganges, Indus, Yellow, Brahmaputra and Mekong. These rivers might die in a few decades as the glaciers are melting fast, said the experts at the conference. They also said the increasing temperature in the Himalayas is projected to play havoc with agricultural sector in the region and frequent catastrophes like surges, floods and droughts might occur. The experts urged the governments of all the nations to work together to battle the impacts of the climate change. Prime Minister of Nepal Madhav Kumar inaugurated the two-day conference,which began yesterday at a hotel in Kathmandu. The conference symbolises a common understanding of the magnitude of risks triggered by climate change. "The Himalayan glaciers are retreating faster than any other glaciers in the world as the temperature is increasing," Madhav said, adding that the glacier-melt in the Himalayas is creating lakes, which are projected to cause great disasters and increase of flood and rock avalanches. Nepal itself, Madhav continued, has over 3,250 glaciers that created hundreds of lakes covering a total area of 5,310 square kilometres. He also mentioned that since 1964, there had been 13 cases of Glacier Lake. During his presentation, Andreas Schild, director general of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal said, "We have to have trans-boundary cooperation to tackle the problem. If we do not know how the climate change is having its impact beyond the edge, it might cause additional concerns in maintaining the ecosystem." Delegations from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and the Maldives and also experts from Kyrgyzstan and Venezuela are attending the conference. Apart from some government selected and independent experts from Bangladesh, an all-party parliamentary group led by lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury is attending the conference. Saber Hossain will chair a session today on 'Climate Change Impacts on the Himalayas'. During the conference, Purushottom Mhegheri, joint secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Nepal and chief of the climate change cell, said they are trying to make a united voice of South Asian countries for tabling at the international negotiations. China had been invited in the conference as an observer but they did not participate while Bhutan did not send any delegations in the conference, he said.
Year: 2009
Language: English
The Daily Star,
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 Record created 2012-09-28, last modified 2014-03-03