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1. Black Carbon

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  • The high concentration of black carbon in January and February is not originating from local sources because life remains near standstill as almost the entire population in these areas migrates to the plains for the winter.

  • Increase in GHG gases and global warming has been affecting the ecosystem in Himalayas.

 

About Black Carbon

  • Black carbon is a potent climate-warming component of particulate matter formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other fuels.

  • Brown Carbon: It originates primarily during the combustion of organic biomass and coexisting with Black Carbon. It has similar climate effect as Black Carbon due their light absorbing property.

  • Blue Carbon: It is the carbon stored and sequestered in coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests, seagrass meadows or intertidal saltmarshes.

  • Black carbon is a short-lived climate pollutant with a lifetime of only days to weeks after release in the atmosphere. During this short period of time, black carbon can have significant direct and indirect impacts on the climate, glacial regions, agriculture and human health.

 

Impact of Black Carbon

  • Climate impact

  • Black carbon is an important contributor to warming because it is very effective at absorbing light and heating its surroundings.

  • It also influences cloud formation and impacts regional circulation and rainfall patterns.

  • When deposited on ice and snow, black carbon and co-emitted particles reduce surface albedo (the ability to reflect sunlight) and heat the surface. The Arctic and glaciated regions such as the Himalayas are particularly vulnerable to melting as a result.

  • Black carbon and its co-pollutants are key components of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution.

  • It has been linked to a number of health impacts including premature death in adults with heart and lung disease, strokes, heart attacks, chronic respiratory disease such as bronchitis, aggravated asthma and other cardio-respiratory symptoms.

  • Black carbon can affect the health of ecosystems in several ways: by depositing on plant leaves and increasing their temperature, dimming sunlight that reaches the earth, and modifying rainfall patterns.

  • Changing rain patterns can have far-reaching consequences for both ecosystems and human livelihoods, for example by disrupting monsoons, which are critical for agriculture in large parts of Asia and Africa.

  • Increased black carbon has effects like decreased snow cover area near the snowline as well as vanishing of valuable medicinal herbs.

  • Brown Carbon: It originates primarily during the combustion of organic biomass and coexisting with Black Carbon. It has similar climate effect as Black Carbon due their light absorbing property.

  • Blue Carbon: It is the carbon stored and sequestered in coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests, seagrass meadows or intertidal saltmarshes.

  • Health impact

  • Impact on Vegetation and Ecosystems

 

Control measures for Black Carbon

  • Replace traditional cooking to clean burning modern fuel cook stoves like clean-burning biomass stoves, LPG etc.

  • Modernize traditional brick kilns to vertical shaft brick kilns in Industries.

  • Fast transition to Bharat Stage VI vehicles and soot-free buses and trucks and eliminate high pollution emitting diesel vehicles.

  • Ban open-field burning of agricultural waste.

  • Capture and improve oil flaring and gas production.

  • Ban open burning of municipal waste.

 

2. Construction And Demolition (C&D) Waste Management In India

About Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste

  • It is generated during the construction, renovation, and demolition of buildings or structures. These wastes include materials such as concrete, bricks, wood and lumber, roofing, drywall, landscape and other wastes.

  • There is a huge demand of aggregates in the housing and road sectors but there is significant gap in demand and supply, which can be reduced by recycling construction and demolition waste to certain specifications.

 

Data and Facts

  • Construction accounts for nearly 65 per cent of the total investment in infrastructure hence it is more important to know how to effectively manage construction and demolition (C&D) waste.

  • 25-30 million tonnes of C&D waste is generated annually in India of which only 5 per cent is processed.

  • According to studies, 36 per cent of C&D waste comprises soil, sand and gravel. With rampant sand mining having destroyed river beds, worsening the impact of floods, there is a crying need to recycle C&D waste.

  • The Central Pollution Control Board’s Waste Management Rules of 2016 and the Guidelines in 2017 spelt out clear timelines on formulating policies, identifying sites for processing and commissioning these, but there has been no action on the ground.

  • While some of the items like bricks, tiles, wood, metal etc. are re-used and recycled, concrete and masonry, constituting about 50% of the C&D waste is not Issues and Challenges

  • It impacts soil fertility and is a health hazard in urban areas.

  • The virtual absence of recycling also goes against India’s commitments with respect to carbon emission reduction.

  • There is neither strong social awareness nor enough political will to promote recycling.

  • Waste collection and segregation mechanism is largely unorganised leading to scrap contamination.

  • Most municipal infrastructure is outdated and inadequate in terms of collection, transportation and scrap yards.

  • Appropriate technologies to maximise recovery from recycling are still nascent.

 

currently recycled in India

  • The private contractors remove this waste to privately owned low-lying land for a price or more commonly, dump it in an unauthorized manner along roads or other public land.

 

Benefits of reducing the Disposal of C&D Materials

  • Environmental- It reduces demand for energy and water in manufacture of building materials from mined / naturals resources (thereby reducing GHGs and

  • Initiatives to promote recycling of C & D waste in India

  • The Swachh Bharat Mission envisages processing of 100% solid waste generated in cities / towns by October 2019 as a key objective, which includes Construction & Demolition wastes.

  • Ministry of Urban Development directed States to set-up environment friendly C & D recycling facilities in all cities with a population of over 10 lakhs.

  • The Bureau of Indian Standards and Indian Roads Congress shall be responsible for preparation of code of practices and standards for use of recycled materials and products of construction and demolition waste in respect of construction activities.

  • Building Material & Technology Promoting Council in 2016 released “Guidelines for utilization of C & D waste in construction of dwelling units and related infrastructure in housing schemes of the Government”.

  • Central Pubic Works Division’s “Guidelines for Sustainable Habitat” discusses ‘Guidelines on reuse and recycling of Construction and Demolition (C & D) waste.

  • environmental impacts arising from mining, manufacturing and transportation).

  • Along with need for fewer disposal facilities it reduced the need for space for disposing it off.

  • Economical- It can also create employment and economic activities in recycling industries.

  • It reduces overall building project expenses through avoided purchase/disposal costs and reducing transportation costs by onsite reuse.

  • Recycling will reduce housing costs, given the materials shortage, and should be an integral aspect of ‘affordable housing’.

 

Construction & Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016

  • Among various things, following are some of the most important provisions under the guidelines-

  • At Individual level: Every waste generator shall segregate construction and demolition waste and deposit at collection centre or handover it to the authorised processing facilities o Large generators shall segregate the waste into four streams such as concrete, soil, steel, wood and plastics, bricks and mortar. They shall ensure that there is no littering or deposition so as to prevent obstruction to the traffic or the public or drains.

  • At Local level: The service providers shall prepare a comprehensive waste management plan for waste generated within their jurisdiction.

  • Service providers shall remove all construction and demolition waste in consultation with the concerned local authority on their own or through any agency.

  • Procure and utilize 10-20% materials made from C&D waste in municipal and Government contracts.

  • Operator of the recycling facility shall obtain authorization from State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee.

 

‘Sustainable Model’ on C & D waste management

  • The key components of a ‘Sustainable Model’ on Construction and Demolition (C & D) Waste Management Rules, 2016 can include the following:

  • Practical estimation of C & D waste generation

  • Identified sites and timely acquisition of land for development of integrated C & D processing facilities with necessary approval from local administration / civic bodies

  • Specifications / standards for recycled C & D waste products for quality acceptance

  • List out and mandate use of recycled products from C & D wastes

  • Penalty - Landfill levy

  • Map water bodies in a city / region – encroachment of water bodies in cities for generating ‘land’ is a common practice observed several cities

  • Research on economically viable C & D recycling options

  • Awareness campaign – tools for sensitization of general public.

  • At State level: The concerned department in the State Government dealing with land shall provide suitable sites for setting up of the storage, processing and recycling facilities for C&D waste.

  • At national level: The Central Pollution Control Board shall prepare operational guidelines related to environmental management of C&D waste and Indian Roads Congress need to prepare standards and practices pertaining to products of C&D waste in roads construction.

  • The processing / recycling site shall be away from habitation clusters, forest areas, water bodies, monuments, National Parks, Wetlands and places of important cultural, historical or religious interest.

  • To make the efforts put forth in the direction of C&D waste management, following a “Sustainable Model” may further accelerate the results.

 

3. India Cooling Action Plan

  • Why India’s cooling needs are a concern?

  • Despite India being a sub-tropical country, India’s Per Capita Energy Consumption towards space cooling is 69kWh, much lower than the world average of 272kWh.

  • Cooling is also intimately associated with human health, well-being and productivity. The need to ensure thermal comfort for all and access to cooling is even more important considering the tropical climate of India.

  • Cooling related energy consumption is a major contributor (10%) to global CO2 emissions.

  • Rising per capita income, rapid urbanization along with currently low penetration of air conditioning may cause India’s Cooling Needs to increase upto 8 times by 2037-38 as compared to the 2017-18 baseline.

 

About India Cooling Action Plan:

  • India Cooling Action Plan aims to:

  • Reduction of cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25 % by year 2037-38.

  • Training of 100,000 service sector technicians by 2022-23 under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.

  • Reduction of refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by year 2037-38.

  • Draft India Cooling Action Plan looks at two scenarios:

  • No change in current policies: cooling requirement is projected to grow around 8 times by 2037-38 as compared to the 2017-18 baseline with the building sector leading the growth.

  • Intervention Scenario: the total refrigerant demand can be reduced by 25%-30% by 2037-38 through proactive measures

  • Refrigerant-based cooling is the most common cooling technique. According to Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol, India must phase down hydro fluorocarbons (used in refrigerant based cooling by 85% of their 2024-26 levels by 2047

  • Suggestions under India Cooling Action Plan:

  • Combining active (air-conditioning) and passive cooling strategies like better implementation of building energy codes, adoption of adaptive thermal comfort standards, increasing energy efficiency of room air-conditioners and fans

  • Adoption of adaptive thermal comfort standards to specify pre-setting of temperatures of air-conditioning equipment for commercially built spaces, and development of energy-efficient and renewable-energy-based cold chains for perishable foods besides other things.

 

4. Conservation Of Migratory Birds And Their Habitats

  • Central Asian Flyway (CAF), one among the nine flyways in the world, encompasses overlapping migration routes over 30 countries for different water birds linking their northern most breeding grounds in Russia (Siberia) to the southernmost non-breeding (wintering) grounds in West and South Asia, the Maldives and the British Indian Ocean Territory.

  • India has a strategic role in the flyway, as it provides critical stopover sites to over 90% of the bird species known to use this migratory route.

  • At least 370 species of migratory birds from three flyways (CAF, The East Asian – Australasian flyway, and Asian East African flyway) are reported to visit the Indian subcontinent, of which 310 predominantly use wetlands as habitats, the rest being land birds, inhabiting dispersed terrestrial areas. E.g. White-bellied Heron(Cr), Greater Adjutant(EN), Baer's Pochard(Cr), Siberian Crane(Cr), Black-necked Crane(VU), Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Cr).

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has developed a National Action Plan for Conservation of Migratory Birds and their Habitats along Central Asian Flyway (CAF) for the period 2018-23.

 

GOAL of NAP

  • The overall longer-term goal of the National Action Plan is to arrest population decline and secure habitats of migratory bird species.

  • In shorter-term the action plan seeks that by 2027, to halt the downward trends in declining meta-populations and maintain stable or increasing trends for healthy populations.

  • Objectives of NAP: Following are the action plan’s specific objectives:

  • Halt and reverse decline of migratory birds;

  • Threats to Migratory Birds

  • Changing land-use is the most important factor affecting land birds across the breeding and non-breeding grounds.

  • Unsustainable taking and climate change are additional threats.

  • Major stresses on population of migratory birds include habitat loss and degradation, pollution, illegal shooting and poisoning, collisions with aerial structures such as wind turbines, electrocution by power lines and increasing night light.

  • Many migratory raptors are particularly at risk during migration because they gather to form major concentrations and move in large groups along their flyways, for example, at narrow land bridges or sea crossings, which can increase the potential impact of certain threats.

  • Reduce pressure on critical habitats by management based on landscape approaches;

  • Develop capacity at multiple levels to anticipate and avoid threats to habitats and species undergoing long term decline;

  • Improve database and decision-support systems to underpin science-based conservation of species and management of habitats;

  • Sensitize stakeholders to take collaborative actions on securing habitats and species; and,

  • Support trans-boundary co-operation to secure migratory bird species and habitats in range countries.

 

Significance of NAP

  • It states the national priority and specific actions required to ensure healthy populations of migratory species in India, within their range across the flyway.

  • The NAP is based on Central Asian Flyway Action Plan which provides a common strategic framework for regional collaboration and affirmative action for protecting, conserving, restoring, and sustainably managing populations of migratory bird species and their habitats in the Indian subcontinent falling under the Central Asian Flyway region.

  • Assist various stakeholders: This action plan would enable national and state level policy and decision makers, those responsible for species conservation and management of habitats, stakeholders and society at large to take coordinated actions for securing and enhancing populations of migratory birds.

  • International Commitments: The NAP has also been drawn to support meeting national commitments related to protection and conservation of migratory birds and their habitats under the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitats (Ramsar), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

  • The plan takes cognizance of ongoing programmes and schemes of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats (such as wetlands and forests), as well as those of other central government ministries (such as water resources, rural development, agriculture and others), state governments, international agencies and others.

 

5. Disaster Proofing Of Telecommunications

Consequences of Communications infrastructure failure:

  • Preventing Emergency Response: In the immediate hours following disaster, relief efforts can be paralyzed or severely delayed if the responding agencies are unable to communicate with one another.

  • Effective coordination becomes further complicated: the lack of an overarching command structure can create miscommunications and delays in action. This may further impact information sharing and quick decision making in such crucial times.

  • Significantly reduces the resilience of communities exposed to risk due to lack of well-designed communications and information infrastructure, as observed during Uttarakhand, Mumbai and Chennai floods in recent past.

  • Spread of false information and confusion: Without an organized flow of information, there may be spread of misinformation and panic at a time when organization and level-headedness are key to carrying out rescue operations as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) prescribed by Department of Telecom (DoT):

  • Telecommunication equipment should be installed at suitable locations in disaster prone areas to be able to withstand impacts of any disaster, e.g. in flood prone areas location of exchanges/ critical equipment to be preferably at higher altitude area to avoid inundation of water.

  • Critical equipment should not be concentrated in one building, also, earthquake-proofing towers in known risk areas and developing a satellite-based system which can provide back-up communications and data connectivity also need to be prioritized.

  • Redundant microwave, aerial or underground links and other network elements such as switches etc. should be secured in alternative locations. In hilly and remote area, satellite connectivity should be preferred.

  • Novel traffic deluge management techniques, which differentiate urgent and delay-tolerant services, can provide connectivity for urgent services while delay-tolerant services may be redirected to a temporary facility.

  • Telecommunication Service Providers (TSPs) to identify vulnerability of their respective telecom infrastructure and accordingly prepare plan for emergency situations. Provision of sufficient backups of network elements, gen-sets/batteries and fuel can prevent total failures from minor equipment damage. Low power consumption equipment should be preferred at all vulnerable / critical locations.

  • Priority needs to be given to designated users engaged in relief operations. Public is also required to be made aware to use alternate mode of communications such as SMS or internet media whenever congestion in the voice calling in mobile network is experienced.

  • TSPs shall identify Main and alternate Nodal officers at central level and at every telecom circle level and publicize their full contact details for coordination related to disaster management prominently on their website.

  • TSPs shall have a Disaster Response Task Force (DRTF) at State level and Rapid Damage Assessment Team (RDAT). DRTF teams will be responsible for immediate provisioning of emergency communication and restoration of telecom services in disaster affected areas whereas, RDAT shall work to determine the precise nature and extent of damage so that the planning for restoration of telecommunication services can be done in the efficient and effective manner.

  • MoUs among TSPs for restoration of Telecom services in emergencies and disaster conditions should be signed. TSPs may enter into Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) among themselves for sharing specialized resources and Intra-circle roaming for provisioning of services.

  • Geographically dispersed servers and use of cloud-based platforms to make data services more accessible.

  • Operators should be mandated to provide mobile base stations and backpack devices in case of disaster when terrestrial network gets damaged.

 

Way Forward

  • Value added information along with data must be sent to the right people at the right time by establishing a reliable, dedicated and latest technology based, National Disaster Communication Network (NDCN), with particular emphasis on last-mile connectivity to the affected community during all phases of disaster continuum.

  • Network path diversity is one of the most effective tactics to reduce the risk of communications failure during a disaster.

  • This is accomplished by establishing two or more network connections that use either a different type of technology or follow a different physical path, minimizing the chance that both connections will be knocked out at the same time.

  • Because network connections cannot always be preserved in a disaster scenario, another effective method for maintaining and/or restoring communications in the hours immediately following the event is to establish one or more ad-hoc network links.

  • Reconstruction and recovery in infrastructure sectors must follow the “Build Back Better” principle for multiple hazards.

 

6. Landslide Warning System

​​Background

  • According to Global Fatal Landslide Database (GFLD), Asia was found to be the most-affected continent where 75% (India = 20%) of landslides occurred, with a substantial number reported along the Himalayan Arc.

  • As per global database on landslides, the world's top two landslide hotspots exist in India: the southern edge of the Himalayan arc, and the coast along south-west India where the Western Ghats are situated.

  • According to Geological Survey of India (GSI), about 12.6 % of the total land mass of India falls under

  • Vulnerability of Sikkim's: 4,895 square kilometer area is sensitive to landslides, of which 3,638 sq km area is surrounded by human population, roads and other infrastructure.

 

About Warning System

  • It will help in saving lives and loss to property by issuing advance alerts by 24 hours.

  • The warning system consists of over 200 sensors that can measure geophysical and hydrological parameters like rainfall, pore pressure and seismic activities.

  • It has been deployed by the researchers of Kerala based Amrita University in collaboration with the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority and partly funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

  • University had earlier installed a landslide warning system in Kerala's Munnar district.

 

About Landslide

  • Definition: Landslides are downward and outward movement of slope materials such as rock debris and earth, under the influence of gravity.

  • Major reason: Landslides are triggered by natural causes like vibrations from earthquakes and the build-up of water pressure between soil layers due to prolonged rainfall or seepage. In recent decades, manmade causes have become significant in triggering landslides, including removal of vegetation from the slopes, interference with natural drainage, leaking water or sewer pipes, modification of slopes by construction of roads, railways, buildings etc.

  • Human-Triggered Fatal Landslides are increasing at the highest rate in India, where 28% construction-triggered landslide events occurred during 2004-2016, followed by China (9%), Pakistan (6%), the Philippines (5%), Nepal (5%) and Malaysia (5%).

  • Weather Induced Landslide: Landslide occurrence peaks during the northern hemisphere summer, when cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons are more frequent and the monsoon season brings heavy rain to parts of Asia.

  • Illegal Mining: Landslides triggered by hill-cutting are a problem in rural areas, where many people illegally collect material from hill-slopes to build homes. Fatal landslides were found to be more common in settlements, along roads and at sites rich in precious resources.

  • Earthquake-Triggered Landslides: The landslide-prone Himalayan terrain also belongs to the maximum earthquake-prone zones where earthquakes of Modified Mercalli intensity VIII to IX can occur, and thus, are also prone to earthquake-triggered landslides.

  • Flash Flood Phenomenon: Landslide Lead to formation of artificial lake, which can trigger flash flood in the region affected.

  • Economic Cost: Landslides are the third most deadly natural disasters on earth with $400 billion being spent annually on landslide disaster management. About 70 hydro power projects in Himalayas at risk of quake-triggered landslides.

  • Developing and continuously updating the inventory of landslide incidences affecting the country.

  • Landslide hazard zonation mapping in macro and meso scales after identification and prioritisation of the areas in consultation with the Border Roads Organisation, state governments and local communities.

  • Taking up pilot projects in different regions of the country with a view to carry out detailed studies and monitoring of selected landslides to assess their stability status and estimate risk.

  • Setting pace setter examples for stabilisation of slides and also setting up early warning systems depending on the risk evaluation and cost-benefit ratio.

  • Geological Survey of India (GSI)

  • GSI is the “nodal agency” for the Indian government for landslide data repository and landslide studies and it is engaged in all types of landslide and slope stability investigations.

  • It functions under Ministry of Mines.

  • National Landslide Susceptibility Mapping (NLSM), 2014

  • GSI initiated the national programme to complete generation of Landslide Susceptibility Maps covering an area of about 1.71 lakh sq km by the end of 2018.

  • Project will offer seamless landslide susceptibility maps and landslide inventory maps of the entire landslide-prone areas of India, which can be utilised by the architects of disaster management groups and perspective planners.

  • A National Landslide Risk Mitigation Project (NLRMP) is being run at NDMA. Under this project a landslide site in Mizoram has been selected.

  • International Programme on Landslides (IPL),

  • IPL aims to conduct international cooperative research and capacity building on landslide risk mitigation, notably in developing countries. Protection of cultural and natural heritage will be addressed for the benefit of society and the environment. The activities of IPL will contribute to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).

  • Complete site specific studies of major landslides and plan treatment measures, and encourage state governments to continue these measures.

  • Setting up of institutional mechanisms for generating awareness and preparedness about landslide hazard among various stakeholders.

  • Enhancing landslide education, training of professionals and capacity development of organisations

  • working in the field of landslide management.

  • Capacity development and training to make the response regime more effective.

  • Development of new codes and guidelines on landslide studies and revision of existing ones.

  • Establishment of an autonomous national Centre for landslide research, studies and management.

  • National Disaster Management Guidelines on Management of Landslides and Snow Avalanches

 

7. Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods

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  • Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods (GLOFs), are a subject of concern in the Sikkim Himalayan region as several lakes have been formed due to melting of scores of glaciers in the region.

  • In order to prevent any disasters due to outbursts from such lake, a project was started in the South Lhonak Lake where in high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes have been installed to siphon off water from the glacial lake.

  • Transporting the pipes to high altitudes poses serious challenges. Yaks are used to carry the pipes and other materials to the lake situated at 17,000 ft. The way to the lake is full of steep and narrow passages.

  • Sikkim has installed a Lake monitoring and information System (water level Sensor) at South Lhonak lake. The sensor gives the water level of the lake and also monitored the lake level when there is sudden fluctuation in water level

 

What is Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods?

  • Floods caused due to outburst of glacial lakes is known as Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods.

  • The moraine wall act as a natural dam, trapping the melt water from the glacier and leading to the formation of a glacial lake.

  • Retreat of glaciers in the wake of global warming is expected to increase the number of glacier lakes and also expand the size of the existing ones.

  • The formation of moraine-dammed glacial lakes and glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) is major concern in countries such as Bhutan, Tibet (China), India, Nepal and Pakistan.

  • The Himalayan states, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, are surrounded by about 200 potentially dangerous glacial lakes formed by glacial melt but till date no early warning system is in place to evacuate people in case these lakes breach their thin walls of debris and loose soil.

  • In addition, this process can be further influenced if more glacial lakes are formed due to increase in debris cover and if black carbon (soot) is transported in accumulation areas of the glaciers.

 

Factors triggering GLOFS

  • Rapid slope movement into the lake and melting of ice incorporated in dam are both directly and indirectly linked to glacier retreat which have increased due to anthropogenic factors.

  • Retreat of glaciers in the wake of global warming increases the number of glacier lakes and also expand the size of the existing ones.

  • The radiative balance- the balance between the amount of energy received by the earth from the sun and the energy it emits back has changed in the Himalayas in recent years due to human activities,. This imbalance “directly or indirectly results in the common incidents of fast glacier melting, glacial lake outbursts floods.

  • In recent years, increasingly erratic and unpredictable monsoon rainfall patterns and increased climate variability have led to severe and frequent flood disasters.

  • The contributing human activities include mass tourism; developmental interventions such as roads and hydropower projects; and the practice of slash and burn type of farming in certain pockets of the Indian Himalayan region.

  • Black carbon also plays important factor which melts the ice on the mountain due to albedo effect.

  • Other Factors like Cascading processes (flood from a lake situated upstream), Earthquake, Melting of ice incorporated in dam/forming the dam, Blocking of subsurface outflow tunnels, Long-term dam degradation also trigger GLOFS.

 

Impact

  • Catastrophic Societal Impacts: The sudden and intense flooding that results can be catastrophic for nearby communities. Fatal GLOFs have been documented in the Andes and in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region.

  • Impact on Ocean Circulation: Major Glacial lake outburst floods from ice dammed lakes into oceans are considered to change circulation patterns by reducing the salinity of the surface layer of the ocean and influence the global climate.

  • Impact on Geomorphology: GLOFs, have significant potential to influence erosion-accumulation interactions and sediment dynamics like bank and depth erosion of the stream/river channel, meander shift, and, in some cases, replacement of existing channels and formation of new ones or formation of erosional terraces.

 

Measures

  • Access to early warning systems and timely information is key to minimizing the adverse impacts of floods and improve the efficiency of the response.

  • Continuous monitoring is needed to understand changing dynamics of Himalayan glaciers.

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) among many other organisations, is also engaged in glacial lake monitoring and water bodies in the Himalayan region of Indian River Basins.

  • To identify hazardous lakes, remotely sensed data-based methods can be installed.

  • Prevention or mitigation of the magnitude of the flood by dam remediation like artificial dams, tunnels, open cuts, concrete outflows, flood protection walls.

  • Mitigation measures are important including community preparedness, GLOF hazard mapping, vulnerability assessment, hazard zone demarcation, and identification of GLOF safe evacuation sites, alternate community based early learning warning systems and identifying vulnerable communities

  • There is the need to set up a disaster database, improve post-disaster damage and needs assessments and have systematic ways of capturing climate change/variability impacts in disaster risk management and development sectors.

September Environmental Issues

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