Climate change: Environmentalists call G-B a ‘ticking bomb’
By: Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: The climate change experts believe Gilgit-Batistan was a “ticking bomb” as it was prone to various disasters. They stressed there was a need in G-B to adapt to climate change if livelihoods had to be kept intact. This was stated at a workshop held at Karakoram International University to talk about issues related to climate change and the environment.
While speaking at the workshop, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) G-B chief Dr Babar Khan said adaptation was the best solution for mountainous regions such as G-B to avoid the negative impact of climate change.
He said there are 7,000 glaciers in the Himalaya, Hindukush and Karakoram ranges and climate change formed another 2,500 lakes around them.
“Of these 2,500 lakes, 52 are highly dangerous and may pose serious threats to the population downstream in case of a slight tremor,” he said.
The workshop was organised by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and WWF. Participants included KIU professors, researchers, academics, forest department officials and journalists.
Babar said data from the past 100 years suggested temperature in the region had drastically increased. “This led to shrinking of glaciers, and the overall change in weather patterns has caused a delay in snowfall and affected agricultural yield,” he added.
Effects on creatures
ICIMOD Director Dr Jasra said climate change also disturbed the schedule of seasonal birds.
“The population of butterflies decreased drastically in G-B owing to climate change in the region,” she added. “Birds and butterflies play a central role in pollination and their absence will disturb the ecosystem.”
The workshop was also addressed by G-B Forest, Wildlife and Environment Secretary Sajjad Haider.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2016.