By Bushra Deen Barcha
“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of changing climate.”President Barack Obama
Climate change is a widely debated topic. It has become a global concern over the last decades. We have already come up against the effects of climate change, but advantageously, our planet has efficacious tools for stabilizing the climate, and that tool is none other than nature itself.
Talking about nature we are fortunate enough that we are living in a pristine environment. The diverse landscape, breathtaking scenic beauty, amazeballs mountains and panoramic places to explore all have made Gilgit Baltistan one of the most welcoming vocation spots in the world.
In recent years Gilgit Baltistan has come into contact with severe climatic changes. Due to which the environment is haphazardly affected. I always think that how weather has changed since I was a child. In good old days I remember it used to snow a lot but now there is less snow falls in winter and hotter summer temperatures. Mountain glaciers of Gilgit Baltistan are about 30% of the total area and another 40% is under seasonal snow cover and are at the risk of climate change. Research shows that the temperature of the region is rising at a rate twice than that of the plains. Rapid melting of glaciers open on to flooding of rivers and the emergency of glacial melt water lakes. Due to less snow fall the glaciers are melting. Glaciel lakes outburst flood which disintegrate houses. The outburst of Shisper glacier in HUNZA caused many people to squandered their precious lands, homes, roads, farms and other buildings. Due to the collapse of Hassanabad bridge transportation routes were destroyed, livelihoods were disrupted and the economy was in loss. People in different regions are getting scornfully affected by climate impacts, which include flash floods, increased heat waves water scarcity and food shortage. Climate change, global warming, receding glaciers, intense weather haps and natural disasters renders the loss of natural terrain of species such as ,ibex, markhor are endangered. The snow Leopard which is the enchantress of HIMALAYA is also jeopardized. Climate impacts also take a heavy impost on people’s psychological contentment .Due to climatic disasters people’s mental health is deteriorating, families are being afflicted, their children are distressed. Impoverishment and damages to property cause depression among people.
There are many strands affecting the climate, nevertheless mountain environments are very sensitive to climate change.Waste burning is a consequential etymology of dangerous carcinogens like black carbon,a momentary climate pollutant that ante up climate change.Open waste burning releases significant amounts of green house gases into the atmosphere together with carbon dioxide and methane, which are commonly correlated with air pollution.
GB is realm to miscellaneous cultures, landscapes and ethnicities. Due to bucolic landscapes and natural beauty of the region tourism is waving in Gilgit-Baltistan. According to the United Nation report on Tourism and Climate Change, ”Tourism is responsible for about 5 percent of global green house gas emission”. Tourism is causing array of impacts on the soil and environs through rec activities, travel transport and housing. Increased waste pollution and outrush, land use, foundation and substructure growth result in climate change, from garbage to sullage, carbon emissions from transport carriers and water contamination, tourism engender a lot of disastrous waste. The tourism precinct is highly unfortified to climate change and synchronously contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases which roots global warming. The GB government must have a tourism management plan.
Black carbon arising from vehicles are worsening the effects of climate change to speed up the melting of the glaciers. According to a study done by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) ,if global warming is contained up to 1.5 degree Celsius, as vowed in the Paris agreement,36% of glaciers in the Himalayan, Karakorum and Hindukush regions will be gone by 2100. .
In Gilgit Baltistan ,the year end rate of deforestation was estimated at 0.31,Deforestation continues to be a paramount concern in Gilgit Baltistan. Deforestation is the major cause of climatic change. Global warming is also happening comparatively ascribed to deforestation only. The oxygen level in the atmosphere will recline by a great number and as a consequence naturally carbon dioxide will increase.
Climate change is a high-priority warning to Gilgit Baltistan. No corner of the world is free from the death-dealing consequences of climate change. Glaciers in mountain regions are already melting sprightly than ever. Global warming impacts everyone’s food and water certainty. As Secretary General of United Nations Antonio Guterres pointed out in September “ The climate emergence is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win”. Yes …its not too late to stem the tide. This will require elemental modification in all outlooks of society.
It is our duty to inspirit climate change awareness in our own community by focusing on local or regional impacts. Increased awareness aids in preparing and executing climate change adaptations, for example adjustment in natural and substitute systems to lessen likely impacts of climate change. Waste management is needed in our society. Ascribed to an increase in population, the junk pile is getting double day by day we can help out in reducing the issue of waste ejection by various routines. We should not buy products covered in a lot of packaging material. We have to use our own shopping bag or basket and refuse plastic bags at the store. We can reduce the amount of waste by purchasing products that come with less packaging products and or come in packaging that can be recycled. Since mountain areas have no place to get rid of their waste, they fetch- up either throwing it in the rivers or burning the trash in open air. Our government should coordinate suitable garbage removal substructure which helps in the reduction. Next diesel vehicles must be abstained from the mountains. The gaseous matter generated by incomplete fuel combustion at such high altitudes directly put up to the speedy melting of glaciers. Thirdly the most inauspicious impacts of deforestation in Gilgit Baltistan are flooding, climatic changes, land sliding, land deterioration, soil despoliation and desertification. Government should venture an urgent reforestation and afforestation programs.GB is going through consequential and serious episodes of deforestation because of lack of access to electricity and natural gas .It is our responsibility to engage ourselves in plantation.
We are living in a warming planet and we have been for a time immemorial. Global warming is increasing inchmeal and consequently nature is out of control. Climate change is a dilemma for mankind. Our planet is facing one of the biggest environmental challenge. Now we have to fight against climate change and save our mother earth.
It is now, or never. Our climate is changing, why aren’t we?