Vanishing Glaciers: Major Threat to The Environment

Environment pollution is a major concern for the humans today. Many countries are taking serious measures to minimize environmental pollution. There are many causes of pollution mismanagement of chemicals, medical wastes, soil erosion, etc.


One such issue is the melting of the mountain Glaciers. From the high mountains to vast polar ice sheets, the world is losing its ice faster than anyone thought. Melting of glaciers is perfectly normal, but they are melting at a much faster rate causing water levels in the oceans to rise, worldwide. The water from the glaciers is fresh water which is used for drinking, irrigation, etc. In many countries it is also used as a source to produce electricity.


Glaciers melt as the emissions from the vehicles and industry warm up the climate and the earth warms up due to increasing emission of green house gases that heat up the planet. but during the past century it has been noticed that glaciers have been melting at a rate which is not normal. The existence of glaciers, worldwide is threatened. Most glaciers in the Alps could become extinct by the end of this century. The glaciers in the Himalayas have few more decades at its best. And many mountain glaciers have disappeared altogether.


There are many reasons for melting of these precious glaciers. Global warming which is the rise in the average global temperature is considered to be the main cause. Increase in global temperature is due to the extensive burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, etc.


Mountain Glaciers play a vital role as water banks, storing water as ice during wet seasons and doling it out in dry months as they melt. But abnormally fast melting of these glaciers has posed a big threat to us. There are many severe dangers because of this. One of them is the floods in rivers and streams. Farmlands will get destroyed and there will be a need to relocate the people. The water from melting glaciers eventually empty into the sea. And if the glaciers go on melting at this rate, sea levels that have already risen due to warmer waters will rise even further. This will displace millions of people who live in low lying areas.


Many animals, birds, and fish that depend on the fresh water from glaciers that empty directly into the sea will become endangered. Corals will suffer because of low sunlight due to increasing sea-levels. Fish feeding on these corals will in turn get affected. Animals and birds feeding on these fish will be affected. Therefore we can see that the swift retreat of these great ice banks is helping to raise ocean levels and is threatening significant changes in human, animal, and plant life—some good, but mostly bad.


The temperature threshold for drastic sea-level is near, but we still have time to save the priceless glaciers. New dams and bigger reservoirs can keep water flowing through the dry season and wind or solar power can supplement the hydroelectric power stations, but these measures are not cheap enough. Construction of dams in the earthquake-prone in many areas is not always a feasible option.


The fast rate of melting of glaciers cannot be stopped completely in today’s world as without industries and vehicles, world will come to a stop, but something or other has to be done to save the glaciers. We will have to sharply cut down the consumption of climate warming coal, oil and gas. Planting of more trees will definitely help the cause. However, another 40 to 50 years of same business will take us beyond a point of no return.

Aditya Lodwal

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