Kieran Cooke, one of the editors of Climate News Network, is in news and he is raising alarms of a new level and danger when he points out how Kolkata as a polluted city is a likely contributor to climate change taking place in the Himalayan region.
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, a transboundary organisation that monitors climate developments across the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, is arguing that around 30 per cent of glacial melt in the Himalayas is due to black carbon rising from India’s atmosphere and driven by the winds on to the snow mountains.
Some news reports elaborate the imputation as they describe that as India’s economy expands, so does pollution, particularly in the country’s major cities.
This also cites a 2012 report where by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment on air quality in Kolkata, seven out of every ten people in the city suffer from some form of respiratory ailment and when flanked with some ICIMOD estimates, it is not hard to guess that black carbon is likely responsible for a large part – around 30 per cent by some calculations – of glacial melt in the region.
Seems that most of the black carbon deposited in the Himalayas and in the southern area of the Tibetan Plateau comes from the plains of India, while black carbon on the eastern and northern parts of the Plateau originates in central China.
The tocsin from ICIMOD is constrained due to data limitations. Now studies incorporate other factors hastening the melt of mountain glaciers – it could also substantially alter rainfall patterns and affect the behaviour of the monsoon.
In fact, a 2013 study by the World Bank and the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI) pointed out that about a million deaths could be avoided each year in the Himalayan region by cutting back on emissions of black carbon and methane, and this could also help improving regional yields of crops such as rice and wheat very significantly.
The moot point to this alarm or any other stays same – are we listening?