DMPQ-. Discuss the impact of climate change on Himalayan region in the wake of recent Chamoli flash flood.

. Recently, the glacial burst in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand is an eye-opener to the ongoing disruption of the ecological balance. A similar flash flood caused by a glacial lake burst ravaged the Kedarnath Shrine at the peak of the pilgrimage season in 2013.

A new report by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) held that 36% of the volume of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region will be gone by the end of 2100 even if the world manages to keep the temperature rise within 1.5 degree Celsius target of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Himalayas, a Volatile Mountain System

The Himalayas are a young and therefore volatile mountain system. Even a minor change in the orientation of its rocks can trigger landslides.  Despite this, high-intensity stone quarrying, frequent blasting of mountains, and digging of tunnels through the base of the fragile mountain system for the back-to-back under-construction dams are going in the Himalayan region.

Overlooking Environmental Norms

Moreover, little attention has been paid to the damage caused to local ecology and loss of forest cover in the upper reaches of the central Himalayas by building hydel dams and construction of wider roads overlooking environmental norms.

Reexamining Hydro Power Option

IPCC report has assessed that the climate crisis has altered the frequency and magnitude of the natural hazards in high mountain regions of the world.  Thus, there is a need for adherence to the Chopra Committee recommendations, which studied the impact of receding glaciers on hydroelectric power projects (HEPs) and objected to the construction of HEPs in paraglacial regions (between 2,200 to 2,500 meters above the sea level).

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