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109 Highly fragile Glacial Lakes formed in Himachal Pradesh in last Two Years: Study

In the Satluj basin alone, the number of glacial lakes increased by 352 in the two-decade period from 1993 to 2013

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Glacier, Wikimedia

Shimla, Oct 7, 2016: Highly fragile moraine-dammed lakes, an increasing phenomenon in the Himalayas, increased from 596 to 705 in barely two years in Himachal Pradesh, raising the spectre of glacial lake outburst floods, warns a state government study.

The study, conducted by the State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, says there is accelerated glacial melting in the Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Satluj river basins in the state, resulting in the formation of 109 new lakes between 2013 and 2015.

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In the Satluj basin alone, the number of glacial lakes increased by 352 in the two-decade period from 1993 to 2013. However, between 2013 and 2015, unlike other three rivers basins, the Satluj has recorded no new addition of glacial lake formation.

The study said a number of such glacial lake outburst floods have occurred in the Nepal Himalayas. However, no such case has been reported in India so far.

The floods in Uttarakhand in 2013 have been correlated with the bursting of a lake.

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“Regular monitoring of moraine-dammed lakes will help avert any future natural disasters like glacial lake outburst floods in the Himalayas,” Kunal Satyarthi, Joint Member Secretary of the Council, told IANS.

He said the Council’s Centre on Climate Change has been carrying out studies in the state’s Himalayas since 1993, which includes the monitoring of snow and glaciers, maintaining the inventory of the glaciers, seasonal snow cover mapping and monitoring of all moraine-dammed glacial lakes.

The Parchu lake, which originates from Tibet in China, is also being monitored regularly during ablation period from April to September every year.

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The number of lakes in Chenab basin has increased to 192 in 2015 from 116 in 2013 — their number was only 55 in 2001.

In the Beas river basin, there were 67 lakes in 2013, while in 2015 they have increased to 89. Similarly, the Ravi basin saw an increase of 12 lakes during this period.

In the Satluj basin, out of 390 lakes, 42 lakes are spread over 10 hectares each. This basin has the maximum number of large lakes compared to the three other river basins.

“The lakes with area more than 10 hectares and area between 5-10 hectares can be seen as potential vulnerable sites,” Satyarthi said. (IANS)

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Climate Change Would Affect Health Of Indian Children: Lancet

Climate change would hit health of Indian children hard, says study by Lancet

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Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change. Pixabay

Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change such as worsening air quality, higher food prices and rise in infectious diseases, warns a new study published in the journal The Lancet.

Climatic suitability for the Vibrio bacteria that cause cholera is rising three per cent a year in India since the early 1980s, said the report.

“With its huge population and high rates of healthcare inequality, poverty, and malnutrition, few countries are likely to suffer from the health effects of climate change as much as India,” said study co-author Poornima Prabhakaran from the Public Health Foundation of India.

“Diarrhoeal infections, a major cause of child mortality, will spread into new areas, whilst deadly heatwaves, similar to the one in 2015 that killed thousands of people in India, could soon become the norm,” Prabhakaran said.

Through adolescence and into adulthood, a child born today will be breathing more toxic air, driven by the fossil fuels and made worse by rising temperatures.

This is especially damaging to young people as their lungs are still developing, so polluted air takes a great toll, contributing to reduced lung function, worsening asthma, and increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Later in life, a child born today will face increased risk from severe floods, prolonged droughts, and wildfires.

 

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Children in India breathe toxic air and may develop lung diseases. Pixabay

Most countries have experienced an increase in people exposed to wildfires since 2001-2004 with a financial toll per person 48 times larger than flooding.

India alone saw an increase of more than 21 million exposures, and China around 17 million, resulting in direct deaths and respiratory illness as well as loss of homes, said the report.

“Over the past two decades, the Government of India has launched many initiatives and programmes to address a variety of diseases and risk factors. But this report shows that the public health gains achieved over the past 50 years could soon be reversed by the changing climate,” Prabhakaran said.

The “Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change” is a yearly analysis tracking progress across 41 key indicators, demonstrating what action to meet Paris Agreement targets — or business as usual — means for human health.

The project is a collaboration between 120 experts from 35 institutions including the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank, University College London, and Tsinghua University.

For the world to meet its UN climate goals and protect the health of the next generation, the energy landscape will have to change drastically, the report warns.

Also Read- Prince Charles Talks Climate Change in India

Nothing short of a 7.4 per cent year-on-year cut in fossil CO2 emissions from 2019 to 2050 will limit global warming to the more ambitious goal of 1.5 degree Celsius, said the report. If the world follows a business-as-usual pathway, with high carbon emissions and climate change continuing at the current rate, a child born today will face a world on average over 4 degree Celsius warmer by their 71st birthday, threatening their health at every stage of their lives. (IANS)