Why are the Himalayas important ?
- Approximately 1.5 billion people are dependent on the Himalayas for water, food and energy.
- Nine of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest are located in the Himalayas.
- Ten of Asia's largest rivers originate in the Himalayas, of which, the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra, flow through India.
- Nearly 70% of the water in rivers such as Indus and Ganga comes from melting of Himalayan glaciers in the summer.
- Himalayan glaciers are a key component of the 75% of all freshwater on earth that exists in frozen state.
- Outside of the North and South poles, the glaciers in the Himalayasform the most important concentration of snow.
What is happening now ?
- 3-40 metre retreat in glaciers in the region is seen every year.
- Modelling studies have shown that with the current warming rate, the amount of snow and glacier melt water in major rivers systems of Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus will increase.
- At the moment some of the water from the melting glaciers is stored in high altitude lakes that act as natural dam. When the water flow to these lakes increases, it could cause floods.
India's apple production is being hit :
- India is the world's fifth largest producer of apples.
- Of the 2.3 million metric tonnes of apples that India produces annually, nearly 60% are grown in Jammu and Kashmir and the rest in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
- Reduced snowfall is leading to decline in production and delayed harvest.
- Pest attacks on apple orchards have increased in frequency
- New trees and fruits never seen before are sprouting up.