Conservationists worry over mountains turning bare

GANDAKI: The conservationists and climate activists have expressed worry over the mountains turning bare across the country.

Reasoning that snow melt at fast pace has denuded mountains, thereby affecting the entire ecosystem, they urged all sides concerned to continue efforts to minimize the impacts of climate change.

“Owing to global heating, mountains are losing snow cover. It will turn mountain climbing to mere rock climbing,” warned Dr Ghanashyam Gurung, Chief of World Wildlife Fund in Nepal and conservationist, stressing that there is no option but to adopt and scale up measures for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

He was expressing such views during a session focused on fading snow cover and impacts on livelihood in the ongoing International Mountain Festival in Pokhara on Monday. Gurung said Nepal was witnessing fast melting of snow, thereby leaving the mountain bare.

He further viewed local initiatives are imperative to minimize the climate change impacts to which Nepal has negligible role. “Only culprit behind climate change are rich and industrialized countries. However, Nepal must not stay idle, but build moral ground to voice concern to the international community,” Gurung opined.

Another speaker Dr Amina Maharjan, who is an expert on livelihood and migration, argued that mountains turning bare are the growing concerns not only of Nepal but of the entire Hindu Kush region. “Ecology, agriculture, tourism, and health are receiving negative impacts of climate change,” she said, stressing the need for proper adaptation to minimize the worsening situation.

The flash flood occurred in Seti River in 2012 and the floods in Kagbeni some months back were caused by climate change, according to her.

She expressed worry about inadequate discussions and research on climate change impacts on health. Spread of disease and health related problems are rising of late, she made aware. Nepal should make its voice heard in the global arena to receive compensation under the Loss and Damage Fund, she recommended.

Noted journalist Kunda Dixit viewed time has come to term climate change a ‘climate crisis’. Even the economic and political angles of the climate crisis should be discussed and understood well, he suggested.

He further informed that problems of water are caused by climate change. As the rivers and water sources are drying up, it must be regarded as urgent by the government.

Dixit furnished suggestions to promote the use of renewable energy.

Out of total imports, 25 percent is petroleum products in Nepal.

Researcher on climate change and food security, Dr Jagannath Adhikari, viewed the mountain as having ties to Nepali culture. “Once a mountain loses snow, we lose culture,” he argued, warning that Pokhara could no longer enjoy the majestic sight of snow-capped mountains.

Snow melt has direct relations to agricultural products. Both national and international initiatives must be continued to cope up with climate change impacts, he recommended.



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