The Degradation of the Himalayas
The Himalayan Mountains, going through the northern part of India separating it from the Tibetan Plateau, currently faces many issues. Either surrounding it’s public infrastructure, waste, and trash of all sorts, the Himalayas are in need of drastic change.
Tourism rules this part of India’s economy, with the constant in and out nature of anyone seeking to climb the mountains. With increasing urbanization in the area, a problem of waste management makes it so garbage is spewed everywhere. Given it’s higher elevation, indefinitely colder climate, and poor public infrastructure, the Himalayas are riddled with trash. People are willing to pay and clean the Himalayas, but some lack knowledge on different disposal methods, and feel they do not have sufficient access to them.
This degradation of the environment and infrastructure causes air pollution, further destroys buildings, and ruins the economy of tourism in the region. The Himalayas utilize hydroelectric power, but need to further advantage of it to make it work entirely. The formation of dams not only displaced locals’ homes, but also greatly affected the environment for both land-going and aquatic animals. These dams, filled with pollution because of all the waste surrounding it, flow all the way into larger bodies of water all the way to the ocean. Due to climate change in the Himalayas, there is significantly less snow and ice, but more water is running down and being polluted.
Additionally, there is a gap in knowledge pertaining to the area, and all of the statistics are not there or well-researched enough to know sufficiently about the Himalayas and their infrastructure or waste. Options are limited to treating waste, leading people to resort to open dumping and burning of waste, which harms the environment and the health of others as shown before. Additionally, some biodegradable options are not feasible because of the harsh environment that happens in the Himalayas.
The leading solution that most point to revolves around two things: collecting more data surrounding Himalayan waste management, and then utilizing government aid, possibly with multiple countries discussing terms to ultimately save the environment of the Himalayas. The World Bank, in collaboration with Korean Green Growth Trust Fund (KGGTF) took it upon themselves to study and analyze the solid waste management situation in the nation. Plastic and biodegradable trash that cannot be recycled in the cold environment was problematic, poor disposal options were present, as well as a lack of awareness but ability to pay for waste management was found.
Government has offered aid to these groups, but has not made such a contribution as to fully change the landscape. If the Indian government was to ally with Nepal, Pakistan, China, and all other countries bordering the mountains to create an organization tackling these issues. While they are mostly prevalent in India, as they are mostly bordered by the mountains, all nations would benefit from collaboration and cooperation in helping the environment. This would drastically increase tourism, satisfaction in the area, creating a stronger economy.
To sum up, the Himalayas have been degraded because of waste, poor infrastructure, and even partial abandonment by the government. To create a better, safe community throughout the area, through government action, either domestically or via a multiple country treaty, the Himalayas can hopefully return to their original state, for tourists and locals alike to enjoy in a safe manner.